The doll made by body image experts

Last updated 10:38 03/12/2012
NEW DOLL: Lottie has been designed in consultation with leading British academics who specialise in body image issues.

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Parents rejoice. No more need you worry that your daughter's Barbie looks like a big-breasted plastic surgery addict or that her Bratz dolls could double as pole dancers.

There's a new kid on the block and she's all kinds of cute. Meet Lottie, the wholesome girl-next-door doll, here to destroy the joint with a healthy dose of body image realism.

She doesn't wear make-up, has a waist that won't fit through the eye of a needle, and sports sensible shoes built for jumping in puddles. She even manages to stand on her own two feet.

Barring an exceptionally large head - presumably to house her enormous brain - and Manga-sized eyes, her dimensions are modelled on the average nine-year-old girl's body shape.

The Lottie range, made by UK toy company Arklu, is the commercial response to growing consumer demand for age-appropriate dolls, amid parental angst about the premature sexualisation of young girls.

Designed in consultation with leading British academics who specialise in body image issues, 18-centimetre-tall Lottie's motto is, ''Be bold, be brave, be you''.

Managing director of Women's Forum Australia., Kristan Dooley, said: ''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,'' she said.

Eating disorder experts are also impressed. Christine Morgan, chief executive of the Butterfly Foundation said a doll designed in the image of a child was a positive step.

''I think that it is removing from young, very impressionable children, what has been a highly sexualised adult form for a doll in the ones that have been around with Barbie. It is taking a doll back to what a doll is, it's a cute doll, it's not a sexualised image, it's not an adult image, it's a doll for children,'' she said.

Clinical psychologist Louise Adams, who specialises in body image issues and eating disorders, says problems with body image start early.

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''Girls aren't born hating their bodies, we teach them to hate their bodies. [This doll] is a representation that your body is normal,'' she says.

''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 issues.''

In Britain, the Lottie range has received with favourable press.

Writing for The Guardian's website, Jane Martinson notes that Lottie comes from the same company that gave the world the Princess Kate doll with a striking similarity to the ubiquitous Barbie.

Yet with Lottie, the manufacturer has also packaged the doll with ''activities'' based on those of a real child, although, as Martinson says, one possibly ''blessed with money and those beloved middle-class aspirations of pony-owning, festival-going and ballet''.

- Daily Life

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