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LONDON, Dec 18, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A British study claims that children are maiming their Barbie dolls as a symbol of their rejection of the consumer society.
The Bath University study of how advertising influences children claims Barbie dolls have become so ubiquitous that they have lost their value to children.
"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.
Agnes Nairn led the research for the university's school of management. She said the girls -- age 7 to 8 and 10 to 11 -- saw Barbie as "babyish" and felt that rejecting the doll was a "rite of passage."
Barbie also symbolized excess because girls often had several versions of the toy, he said.
"Barbies are not special; they are disposable, and are thrown away and rejected," the researchers said.
Roland Earl, of the British Toy and Hobby Association, was skeptical of the study.
"Kids have always pulled things apart and dolls are still as popular as they ever were," he told the newspaper.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International