The study raises an interesting question. Might playing with obese dolls promote obesity? One study found that girls who played with full-figured dolls ate more afterwards than those who played with Barbies. The authors point out that playing with heftier dolls might help girls develop a healthier relationship between their actual and ideal body size. After all, the average American woman is a size 14. On the flip side, exposure to full-figure dolls could promote larger body types.
Keller said it was surprising that such a short exposure made a difference. "Afterward, they showed such an immediate response," she said. "They wanted to be thinner if they played with Barbie. ... If they played with heavier dolls, that sort of suppressed their desire to be a thinner body weight."
Amelia, the third grader, shared with me that she would like to have her cards focus on being nice because some of the girls in her class were having a hard time remembering how to be good friends . Our conversation happened one afternoon while we played Barbies, and as she relayed some of her experiences to me we began to incorporate them into our play and have our dolls act out the scenarios and try out different resolutions.
I don’t care whether or not you or your kid plays with Barbie, I just hope you and understand the conversation has to evolve past what we look like and move to WHAT. WE. DO.