Culture & Entertainment

Can letting your daughter play with Barbies ruin her future career?

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Can letting your daughter play with Barbies ruin her future career?

By: Guest Blogger
Barbie dressed up in a blue dress A new study out of Oregon State University has found that young girls who play with Barbies are more likely to think they can't be whatever they want to be when they grow-up because their are certain jobs only males can do. The study was conducted on girls aged three to seven who were give five minutes to play with one of three toys: A Mrs. Potato Head doll, a career Barbie doll with a doctor's coat or a fashion Barbie doll with high heels. After five minutes of playing the girls were told about different jobs and shown pictures of those jobs. They were then asked if they thought they could do that job? That was followed up by asking them if a boy could do that job. The results showed little girls playing with either of the Barbies were more likely to think only boys could be doctors and lawyers while girls are teachers and nurses. The logic seems to be that playing with Barbie makes little girls believe limiting stereotypes about being female, which then makes them think there are only certain career options possible for them. I really have a hard time believing any of the nonsense that comes out of studies around Barbie. I played with Barbies as a child, probably for longer than most girls. I didn't have a career Barbie as a child, I had about 20 fashion Barbies who had a closet full of clothes and shoes. Plus a pink Corvette. I don't think being a Barbie-obsessed child impacted my career. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I went to a top University in Canada, I got my Master's and now I have the job of my dreams as a journalist, which is typically a very male-dominated industry. So no, playing with Barbie did not make me think that I couldn't be anything I wanted to be. I understand why many people worry about the negative effects of toys. But I think imaginative play, with Babies or dress-up games, not only encourages children to be creative, but it can be therapeutic. I remember re-enacting my fights with friends at school using my Barbies. I would always say how I really felt when I was Barbie, through her I could say my peace and vent. Then I felt better. I also used my Barbies to discover the right way to deal with my anger. I would act out different scenarios, I would have Barbie yell at my friend, hit my friend and tell her how I feel. By doing that I realized the right way to deal with conflict...see Barbie taught me to problem-solve! Do you think playing with Barbies will impact your child's career? Photo courtesy of Babrie Cathy/FlickrCC    
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Can letting your daughter play with Barbies ruin her future career?

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