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On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: Barbie

Yes, Barbie, you: the one with the waist-to-bust ratio that defies the laws of physics. It's time you had a spell on the naughty step.

We know you've been told off before for setting a bad example to girls and generally promoting a trashy look, but we won't go into that here. This time, it seems you need a spell in solitary for hogging Action Man's limelight in the halls of academe.

Experts said this week that so much academic effort had gone into studying your impact on society that they had forgotten to look at the influence of your male counterparts. Although academics have taken the time to discover that exposure to your fabulous form "heightened girls' dissatisfaction with their bodies", far fewer studies have been carried out into the effect of boys' action figures on children.

No thanks to you, Barbs, but researchers are now seeking to redress this outrage by launching a #163;500,000 study into how Action Man and the best-selling Her Majesty's Armed Forces dolls help to shape children's attitudes to war, terrorism and the armed forces - by encouraging support for the Help for Heroes campaign for war veterans, for example.

So Barbie, put on some clothes, stop flirting with the academics and let the boys' toys get a look-in.

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