Study: British Girls Mutilating Barbies

Researchers at the University of Bath in England uncover a disturbing trend: young girls are decapitating and otherwise abusing Barbie dolls. One researcher says Barbie appears to have become a symbol of excess consumerism.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Something awful is happening to the Barbies of England. According to The Times of London, a new study by the University of Bath has found little girls aged seven to 11 routinely mutilate their Barbie dolls. The torture takes the form of scalping, decapitating, burning, breaking and microwaving. Researchers dismiss the notion that the assaults are initiated by chubby little girls jealous of the improbably proportioned doll. Instead, according to researcher Agnes Nairn, the violence could be a reaction against consumerism. The girls almost always talked about having a boxful of Barbies, she said. So to them, Barbie has come to symbolize excess. Barbie has become inanimate. She has lost any individual warmth. The Bath researchers see the mutilation as being an imaginative way to dispose of an excessive commodity, a kind of twisted recycling.

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