December 21, 2005

Australian Women Promote Body Image Calendar

Click on the title of this post to view the pic of...

Women in their underwear pose at Circular Quay in Sydney December 19, 2005. More than 50 women wore their underwear as they paraded through the city's central business district to promote a local magazine and the launch of a body image calendar ahead of Christmas. REUTERS/Will Burgess

December 19, 2005

Barbie the Doll We Love to Hate

from The Times,,,2-1939678,00.html

Barbarism Begins with Barbie, the Doll Children Love to Hate
By Alexandra Frean, Social Affairs Correspondent

BARBIE, that plastic icon of girlhood fantasy play, is routinely tortured by children, research has found.

The methods of mutilation are varied and creative, ranging from scalping to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving, according to academics from the University of Bath.

The findings were revealed as part of an in-depth look by psychologists and management academics into the role of brands among 7 to 11-year-old schoolchildren.

The researchers had not intended to focus on Barbie, but they were taken aback by the rejection, hatred and violence she provoked when they asked the children about their feelings for the doll.

Violence and torture against Barbie were repeatedly reported across age, school and gender. No other toy or brand name provoked such a negative response.

“You might expect little girls to love their Barbie and expect an imaginary love in return. Instead girls feel violence and hatred towards their Barbie,” Agnes Nairn, one of the researchers, said.

One interpretation of this phenomenon is that the children are reacting to the proliferation of different types of the doll, which range from Fashion Barbie to Queen Elizabeth I Barbie and even a Geisha Barbie.

“The children never talked of one single, special Barbie. The girls almost always talked about having a box full of Barbies. So to them Barbie has come to symbolise excess. Barbies are not special; they are disposable, and are thrown away and rejected,” Dr Nairn said.

She added: “On a deeper level Barbie has become inanimate. She has lost any individual warmth that she might have possessed if she were perceived as a singular person. This may go some way towards explaining the violence and torture.”

Previous research from the US into Barbie abuse suggested that prepubescent girls destroyed the doll because she reminded them of adulthood at a time when they were still clinging to their childhood, but Dr Nairn found no evidence of this.

She also dismissed the idea that overweight little girls might be jealous of Barbie for being the girl who had everything, including a tiny waist. It was more likely to be a simple reaction against a toy that the children had grown out of, she said.

“The children we were talking to were aged 7 to 11, whereas the right age for having a Barbie seems now to be 4, even though Barbie doesn’t exactly look like it is aimed at four-year-olds,” Dr Nairn added. She and her colleagues Christine Griffin and Patricia Gaya Wicks concluded that, while adults may find a child’s delight in breaking, mutilating and torturing their dolls to be disturbing, from the child’s point of view they were simply being imaginative in disposing of an excessive commodity, in the same way as one might crush cans for recycling.

November 4, 2005

Longitudinal Research studies on eating disorders


This week I was interviewed by a journalist, Trisha Gura, who is writing a book about the long term effects of eating disorders on health and social issues, etc., specifically dealing with women in their 30s who have been bulimic since their teens. I'm 38 and have been bulimic since I was 15. I haven't been regularly binging and purging for several years but I do still consider myself bulimic, like alcoholics always consider themselves alcoholics.

This is an important because there really hasn't been enough of this. And she REALLY has an understanding of Bulimia which is something, as we all know, not many people have a real understanding of.

Trisha gave me some great info on current research studies. Lately I've been having some serious gynecological issues. I've had many gynecological issues over the years including (which I've made no secret of in my columns on the site), four miscarriages. All gynecologists tell me the same thing--there's no connection between these problems and your eating disorder.

Guess what, they're WRONG--which I always suspected. The most recent studies suggest that women who have had long term eating disorders or who have an eating disorder when trying to get pregnant are at a much higher risk of miscarriage. Now, for all of us with EDs who are sucked into the guilt thing, that's not info. for you to take and feel that you're ED is to blame for having a miscarriage. It's just info. for you to be aware of. It didn't make me feel guilty to find this information out, it validated my feelings and made me feel less crazy for wondering what the source was for all the problems I've had--which are not exclusive to miscarriages. I'm also dealing with severe endometriosis.

We know that there are many health issues that are a result of long term EDs. But getting to the bottom of the gynecological issues has been important to me. If anyone has info on recent studies, please post it here!

The more we know about our disease, the more we can do to help ourselves. Trisha Gura's book will most likely be out in about a year. It's being published by Harper Collins. I'll keep you updated on dates.


Hi Sarah

Hi S--
I got your invite to this blog, and just wanted to say HI!! Hopefully people will start posting here!!


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