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Cohen

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For years Barbie has been the universal image of what it looks like to be beautiful. While growing up, children develop ideas and concepts about life and themselves from playing pretend and fantasizing. Barbie is the best-selling fashion doll worldwide. Studies show that young girls between the ages of 3-10 own at least 8 Barbie's. Although her body proportion is ideal in our society, scientists find her body proportions unreachable and unhealthy for any woman. This article is about how a Barbie doll affects the body image desired by young girls. The theory tested by the author is whether being exposed to a Barbie at young age will decrease or increase a girl's self esteem and thoughts of body image as they get older.

The researchers examined three general questions while they studied whether Barbie had an effect on young girl's satisfaction with her body shape and image or whether she had a certain desire to be thinner. The first question was whether Barbie images have an immediate negative impact on a young girl's body's image. This idea examined whether they became unsatisfied with their image at a very early stage rather than later on in life. The second question addressed whether dolls built with more realistic body features have the same damaging effects on a young girl's thoughts of body image. This idea examined whether girls would still feel unsatisfied with their size if they seen or played with other natural dolls that they could relate to or see more often. The last question addressed whether the impact of a girl's exposure to Barbie is age-related and if their opinions differ depending on their age group. This idea examined if different age levels have different views on how Barbie makes them feel about their bodies.

To answer these questions researchers selected 162 girls ranging from 5-8 from primary schools in England. The girls were predominantly white and middle class. They were in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. In each year group, one-third of the girls were exposed to Barbie dolls, Emme who was a more realistic shaped doll, and neutral controlled conditions. For example, researchers took images representing Barbie dolls, Emme dolls, and neutral images and created three storybooks. The images were put into a story that would cause the girls to look at the pictures and for a good length of time. The girls were then asked to select pictures that described their body image, the ideal body they desired to have, and their ideal shape as an adult woman by coloring them in. The girls that could read were also asked to select answers from a questionnaire while younger girls picked smiley faces that represented yes, no, or in between. These underlying questions were asked amongst other questions regarding the girls' favorite television shows, movies, and cartoon characters. The experiment happened during normal school hours were the girls were separated into groups of 3 with each session lasting 15 minutes. All the girls were asked to answer each question independently. To ensure accurate results, the experimenter read each question aloud and checked each answer given accordingly. After each session

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