Exposure to Barbie: Effects on thin-ideal internalisation, body esteem, and body dissatisfaction among young girls

Karlie Rice, Ivanka Prichard, Marika Tiggemann, Amy Slater

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Barbie doll ownership is high among girls in early primary school. It has been suggested that exposure to Barbie impacts negatively on body image. The present study sought to investigate the effect of exposure to Barbie on young girls’ thin-ideal internalisation, body esteem, and body dissatisfaction. Participants were 160 girls (aged 5–8 years) from Adelaide, South Australia. They were randomly allocated one of three Barbie conditions (physical engagement, physical observation, print observation) or to a control toy. Results indicated that exposure to Barbie, irrespective of format, led to higher thin-ideal internalisation than exposure to the control, but had no impact on body esteem or body dissatisfaction. This suggests that interacting with Barbie may encourage girls in early primary school to adopt a preference for a thin body, but with no immediate effect on body image. The long-term impact of Barbie exposure on body image remains unknown.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)142-149
    Number of pages8
    JournalBody Image
    Volume19
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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