If you thought body image problems were only a problem for teens and adults, think again.

Research out of Pepperdine University in California is showing that girls as young as three (!!!) have a negative impression of barbie dolls who aren’t a perfect size six.

In the lengthy study, these girls, along with girls aged up to ten, frequently identified the curvier barbies, and the taller and shorter ones as well, as the ones most likely to not have friends and as not pretty.

To quote from the Herald-Sun article that referenced the study:

“Forty per cent said the curvy doll was the one they would least like to play with. Only 1.7 per cent felt the same way about the original doll.

“The most commonly identified reason for not wanting to play with the curvy doll was her larger size,” Dr Harriger said.

Curvy Barbie is similar in height to petite Barbie, but has a more rounded stomach, thicker legs and no gap between her thighs. She is still larger than the average woman.

“Girls more frequently selected the original doll as representing all five of the positive attributes (i.e., happy, smart, has friends, pretty, helps others), while the curvy doll was more commonly selected for three of the five negative attributes (i.e., has no friends, not pretty, mean) compared to the original doll,” Dr Harriger said.”

You can also read about the study at Psychology Today.

Although I am not a woman myself, I readily admit to having had some concerns about my body at a young age given I was almost double the body weight of some of my year two classmates, until I learnt about muscle mass and discovered I could use my size to my benefit on the rugby league field.

However, this was when I was eight, not three.

Rather than be mortified by this, I think we should try and be a little more positive and create more realistic dolls… like an EP doll.

I think this idea has legs, so tell us, what should be included as part of an accurate EP doll? We could even do a full mock up!