Sex Roles

, Volume 53, Issue 11–12, pp 877–885 | Cite as

Action Figures and Men

  • Chris BarlettEmail author
  • Richard Harris
  • Sara Smith
  • Jennifer Bonds-Raacke


Three studies were conducted to determine whether action figures contributed to negative body images in the young adult men who handled them. In Study 1 and Study 2, participants were randomly assigned to different conditions to handle action figures with different muscularity levels. The participants were instructed to place the action figures into various positions for a set time limit. Following the action figure manipulation, the participants completed scales to assess aspects of their body images (i.e., self-esteem, body esteem, and body satisfaction). Overall, the results indicate that touching and manipulating the more unrealistically muscular action figures significantly decreased participants' body esteem. In Study 3, we used a more realistic figure whose muscularity was more like an average man's. Following the same procedure as in Study 1 and Study 2, results showed that there was no significant difference between this action figure and the control group on all of the body image scales.

Key Words

action figures body image males toys self-image 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Barlett
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Richard Harris
    • 1
  • Sara Smith
    • 1
  • Jennifer Bonds-Raacke
    • 2
  1. 1.Kansas State UniversityManhattan
  2. 2.Briar Cliff University is in Sioux city
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyKansas State UniversityManhattan

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