Barbie at 50: Maligned but benign?

  • J. WorobeyEmail author
Original Research Paper


Objective: Barbie, the toy fashion doll, has been subjected to extensive speculation but little empirical investigation as to whether her thin persona exerts a negative influence on the self-image of young girls. The present study was conducted to examine the impact of childhood Barbie play versus other factors on self-image and dieting behaviors of young women. Method: A survey was completed by 254 undergraduate women that included questions about childhood Barbie play, family characteristics, satisfaction with their own appearance, and eating behaviors. Results: Neither age of acquisition or number of Barbies owned had a significant impact on self-evaluations of appearance or on dieting behavior. The strongest predictor of dieting behavior was the women’s recollection of how much physical appearance was valued by her family of origin members.

Key words

Barbie dolls eating attitudes body image 


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Copyright information

© Editrice Kurtis 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutritional SciencesRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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