By Sandy Smith
MOVE over Barbie, a new range of fashion dolls has been launched to address growing concerns about the impact on young girls of negative body image issues associated with dolls such as Barbie, Bratz and Monster High.
Unlike her now 53-year-old counterpart Barbie, the new Lottie doll has a childlike form, modelled on the average nine-year-old girl's body shape and has practical clothes, realistic hair and healthy outdoor hobbies.
Healthier: Genevieve Bland and Caitlin Dooley with their Lottie dolls, which can stand and wear practical clothes. Photo: Melanie Faith Dove
The Lottie range, which is sold online, was the result of 18 months' research and development by British toy company Arklu, including consultation with academics.
The arrival of the 18-centimetre doll, that can stand and whose motto is "Be bold, be brave, be you", has been welcomed by the eating disorder support group, The Butterfly Foundation, as well as psychologists and parents.
The foundation's chief executive, Christine Morgan, said the new doll was an alternative for impressionable children from other highly sexualised dolls.
"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, and I see that as being a very positive step forward," she said.
Lottie is available in the USA, UK and Ireland.
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