Why are fashion dolls so skinny?

My daughter is 4 years old and loves playing with fashion dolls. She’s got a good selection of Barbies, a couple of Bratz dolls and a Project MC2 doll as well.

When she undressed her Project MC2 doll (Ember) for the first time, I was shocked to see Ember’s ribs were visibly protruding from her body, and her lower body looks like she is suffering from an eating disorder. Her collar bones were also sticking out.

I immediately thought that this doll made Barbie look chubby. I took a few side by side photos to compare the three fashion dolls we have – Ember (Project MC2), Cloe (Bratz) and Barbie…

To me, Ember looks the most realistic. Her head is more in proportion to her body than the other two dolls, and the protruding collar bones, ribs and hips make her look very underweight. Her “real” eye lashes, the freckles and hair all add to the realistic effect too.

The Bratz doll, Cloe is more cartoon – like than the others and I can’t see a child thinking they are meant to look like her. Cloe’s shoes and head are huge compared to her body. Her tiny waist line and body all add to the cartoon – like appearance in my opinion.

Barbie‘s head is tiny compared to her body. While some of her looks thin, I like the fact she has a little more “meat” on her legs compared to the other two dolls.

While I was shocked by Ember’s appearance, I was hopeful that perhaps this Project MC2 doll’s thin appearance was a one off. I hoped that the brand were making each of the Project MC2 dolls have different body shapes, to show that not everybody looks the same. Unfortunately, after asking other parents who have these dolls, it became obvious that all of the dolls in the collection are designed to be this thin.

Maybe I am over reacting here, but why on earth would a toy aimed at 6 year olds need to have such a thin (and detailed) figure? Why would we want our 6 year olds thinking this is normal? In a day and age when women are constantly made to feel the need to improve their appearance, surely we should be manufacturing and buying toys which project a positive body image onto our children?

Take Lottie Dolls, for instance… They are modelled on a 9 year old child. Lottie wears age appropriate clothes, no make up and isn’t tied down by gender stereotypes.

The Lottie range is ethnically diverse too, which is the one thing all of the doll brands featured in this post seem to have tried to be.

I like the fact there’s a boy doll (Finn) available as part of the Lottie Doll range. As a child, I loved playing with boy and girl dolls, so a child-like boy doll is a great idea in my book.

Personally, I won’t be buying any more of the Project MC2 dolls for Syd. While the idea behind them is good (encouraging children that’s it’s cool to be academic), the realistic body shape left a bitter taste in my mouth. I would buy more Bratz or Barbie dolls if Syd asked for them, as they aren’t quite so life like. Lottie will definitely be on Sydney’s Christmas wish list though.

What do you think? Am I over reacting or do you think that fashion dolls should have a less skinny appearance too?

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