The impact of male action figures and dolls on boys' body image

Do parents pay attention to the action figures that they buy their boy children?

Do these action figures impact the children's sense of self?

There is a growing body of literature describing body image disorders among men. For example, such disturbances are frequently documented in men with eating disorders.

For many of us, the mention of a doll conjures up images of Barbie.

Something with limited mobility in the joints and lots of accessories like shoes, clothing and hair brushes.

However, an action figure conjures up images of a rugged adventurer of the likes of the 1960’s GI Joe.

READ: 'Barbie is pretending to be inclusive and diverse'

Speaking to Eusebius McKaiser, a Unisa social and health sciences professor Kopano Ratele weighed in on the matter.

He said the conversation is precisely about bodies which lead to a view about gender. There is still a powerful notion that masculinity is something that is only invested in male bodies.

In the production of toys, this view comes forth because what you tend to see in producing particular kinds of toys as action figures this masculanity of Michealangelo (Ninja Turtle) and others.

Kopano Ratele, Professor of social and health sciences, Unisa

In that moment, something quite interesting happens and has a serious social impact and says this is how a man should look.

Kopano Ratele, Professor of social and health sciences, Unisa

Listen below to the full interview:


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