Kids Are Mean

The Telegraph: In a finding that will astonish many parents, academics at Bath University concluded that girls attack their Barbie dolls as a symbol of their rejection of the consumer society. “Barbie provoked rejection, hatred and violence,” said Dr. Agnes Nairn, who led the research for the university’s school of management.
“The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a ‘cool’ activity,” the researchers said.
The mutilation ranged from cutting off hair to decapitating and putting the dolls in microwaves.
Dr. Nairn said the children were aware that they were being exploited by “over-marketing and over-charging”. While boys had feelings of nostalgia for Action Man dolls, girls saw Barbie as “babyish” and felt that rejecting the doll was a “rite of passage”.
Barbie also symbolised excess because girls often had several versions of the toy, the researchers said. “Barbies are not special; they are disposable, and are thrown away and rejected.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. What a load of crap. Girls don’t mutilate their Barbie dolls because they’re rejecting consumerism. They do it because it’s fun. I suppose little boys who fry insects under a magnifying glass are “rejecting environmentalism.”

  2. Hey… If you read the study from Bath University you’ll realize it’s based on a sample of 100 tiny chicks… See my blog for further comments. Just goes to prove, if you can have a multi-million $ campaign blown out of the water by half a dozen cro-magnons in a focus group. Why not kick the shit out of Barbies with 100 Lara Croft wannabees?