(Photo: REUTERS/Bobby Yip) Barbie dolls are displayed inside a showroom at a Mattel office in Hong Kong January 12, 2010. Mattel Inc, the world's leading toymaker, said it has seen very strong sales for its Christmas hit Fashionista Barbie doll following a recent revamp of its 50-year-old mainstay product.
Possibly to counter the growing global trend for young women to dress and look like the iconic Barbie doll, a UK toy company released in Australia Lottie, a doll whose physical proportion resembles that of girls who play with these dolls
The 9-year-old body of Lottie, which has a large head and Manga-sized eyes, is in contrast to the big-breasted, ultra-slim waistline and thin limbs of Barbie.
The anatomically correct body proportions of Lottie seeks to help Australian girls develop correct notions about real body sizes and in response to growing consumer and parental demand for more age-appropriate dolls and worries of premature sexualisation of young girls.
Lottie was designed after consultations with leading British academics who specialise in body image issues. Lottie, who has as her motto "Be bold, be brave, be you," became available in Australia on Nov 23, sold through the Women's Forum Australia Web site.
The perceived wrong body image of Barbie has led a number of young women to imitate the famous doll, such as Ukrainian Valeria Lukyanova who shares the secret of her youth and beauty in the following YouTube video:
Valeria has been criticised by the British daily, The Sun, for being an epitome of vanity and superficiality after she ended her friendship with another human Barbie doll, Anastasiya Shpagina, after she became jealous of the latter's interview by Japanese journalists.
Several groups have lauded the release of Lottie, timed for the Christmas 2012 shopping of Australian families.
"Lottie is a positive alternative to dolls that have unrealistic body shapes, wear highly sexualised clothing or come with tattoos, fangs and other such things that promote unhealthy and unrealistic lifestyles," The Age quoted Women's Forum Australia Managing Director Kristian Dooley.
"Girls aren't born hating their bodies, we teach them to hate their bodies. (This doll) is a representation that your body is normal. We don't have an alternative. To actually see a little girl portrayed as a doll is fantastic, without sexualisation, without make-up, it's really going to help with body image issue," added Louise Adams, an Australian clinical psychologist.
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