Children Mutilate, Burn, and Torture Barbies

This is disturbing. It appears Barbie is "out" as a doll and in fact is so hated children routinely torture them. Why? Perhaps out of envy (Barbie is so perfect!), perhaps it reminds prepubecent girls of an adulthood they want to avoid. The researchers conclude that it really isn’t that bad. After all, the girls are just being imaginative in disposing an excessive commodity, like one crushes cans for recycling.

For some reason I wouldn’t place crushing cans for recycling in the same category as burning and torturing a barbie doll.

Link: Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times – Times Online.

BARBIE, that plastic icon of girlhood fantasy play, is routinely tortured by children, research has found.

The methods of mutilation are varied and creative, ranging from scalping to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving, according to academics from the University of Bath.

The findings were revealed as part of an in-depth look by psychologists and management academics into the role of brands among 7 to 11-year-old schoolchildren.

3 Responses to Children Mutilate, Burn, and Torture Barbies

  1. Sam says:

    I don’t know if you’re often around children, but I’d guess not. I am.

    Personally, I don’t agree with the article. I’d like to hear the kinds of questions these researchers asked. Hatred for Barbie? Give me a break. I’ve never seen anything even approaching hatred for Barbie. It’s just a doll. The younger children break it just like they break their Buzz Lightyears or their Legos, and the older children just aren’t entertained by it. (It’s far from the the 7 or 11-year-old’s idea of cool.)

    This all seems blown way out of proportion to me. The “torturing” only matters insofar as it’s torturing in the child’s mind, and it’s not. Barbies are just toys, and the children understand that. So there’s no problem. Watching the children, you would never notice a link between breaking a Barbie doll’s head off and actual violence.

    There might be something to this research, but I’d want details before taking it seriously. This gets lumped into the back of my mind with all the other media sensationalism.

  2. Andrew Stengel says:

    no, I don’t think these comments quite cover it. My question is why do children of either gender mutilate dolls, and I’d like an answer that acknowledges the psychology of children and the real existence of violent emotions in the very young, not always instanced by cases of sexual abuse. I’d like an acknowledgement that children experience and react to all kind of psychological abuse, including parental neglect. In fact, I’d like an answer that treats kids as real persons in the world, and not mere extensions of the adult, and thereby unworthy of serious study.

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