- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2014

A new study at Oregon State University finds that girls between the ages of 4 and 7 are influenced by Barbie to believe a woman’s place is in the home. Mrs. Potato Head, however, and changes that perception.

The same 37 girls in the study whose career ambitions were shuttered by Barbie were bolstered to believe they could become whatever they wanted after spending as little as five minutes with Mrs. Potato Head, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The study was published in the journal Sex Roles. And researchers found that the test results held true even if the girls were introduced to Barbie dolls dressed for work — like “Doctor Barbie” — that are supposed to suggest that girls can hold high-profile career positions, the Los Angeles Times reported. Specifically, the Barbie-playing girls judged themselves fit for 1.5 fewer occupations than a boy — a perception that changed within minutes after Mrs. Potato Head was given as the toy.

“Although the marketing slogan suggests that Barbie can ‘Be Anything,’ girls playing with Barbie appear to believe that there are more careers for boys than for themselves,” wrote authors and psychology professors Aurora Sherman of Oregon State University and Eileen Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mrs. Potato Head busted through those gender stereotypes, however, the authors found.

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