Astronaut, computer engineer, Hawaiian haver of "fun" —Barbie's held more jobs for which she's clearly unqualified than Ryan Seacrest. But all of her career costumes were supposed to be a means to an end, a way for girls to play with a doll who would encourage them to pursue their big dreams. Turns out, career-having Barbie might have the opposite effect.
New research shows that after just five minutes of playing with Barbie dolls, little girls were significantly less likely to report that their career aspirations were to become actual adult doctor humans. Didn't matter with which Barbie the girls played, according to researchers. Their aspirations shrunk whether they were playing with a "fashion Barbie" or one who had ostensibly spent much of her twenties pursuing a medical degree in a miniature bright pink med school populated by Med Student Midges and donated old Barbie cadavers. Here's Oregon State University scholar and research co-leader Aurora Sherman with why that may be.
"Perhaps Barbie can 'Be Anything' as the advertising for this doll suggests, but girls who play with her may not apply these possibilities to themselves," Sherman said of the findings. "Something about the type of doll, not characteristics of the participants, causes the difference in career aspirations."
Ah, so it seems Sherman is implying that it doesn't matter what high powered career is enjoyed by a physically impossible sexbot; little girls still don't relate to her.
Researchers didn't get the same results when the girls played with Mrs. Potato Head dolls, though, even though most people who aren't well-known male conservative commentators do not look like potatoes.