December 24, 2005

Researchers find Barbie is often mutilated

A line of Barbie dolls sit on a shelf, in this July 19, 2004 file photo, in a toy store in New York.

Barbie, beware. The iconic plastic doll is often mutilated at the hands of young girls, according to research published by British academics.

"The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity," said Agnes Nairn, one of the University of Bath researchers. "The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving."

Researchers from the university's marketing and psychology departments questioned 100 children about their attitudes to a range of products as part of a study on branding. They found Barbie provoked the strongest reaction, with youngsters reporting "rejection, hatred and violence," Nairn said.