Just in time for the Lileks' Christmas, Barbie mutilation:
In a finding that will astonish many parents, academics at Bath University concluded that girls attack their Barbie dolls as a symbol of their rejection of the consumer society. "Barbie provoked rejection, hatred and violence," said Dr Agnes Nairn, who led the research for the university's school of management.
....of all the toys named, Barbie aroused the "most complex and violent emotions".
"The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity," the researchers said.
The mutilation ranged from cutting off hair to decapitating and putting the dolls in microwaves.
Dr Nairn said the children were aware that they were being exploited by "over-marketing and over-charging". While boys had feelings of nostalgia for Action Man dolls, girls saw Barbie as "babyish" and felt that rejecting the doll was a "rite of passage".
Barbie also symbolised excess because girls often had several versions of the toy, the researchers said. "Barbies are not special; they are disposable, and are thrown away and rejected."