Free Barbies in the classroom to stimulate empathy: controversy in the UK

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Game company Mattel It sparked great controversy in the United Kingdom after the dolls were distributed Barbie And Ken Free in about 700 schools, with the aim of teaching children empathy.

Because it's important? Investigative journalist Hristio Boichev exposed the issue of the company's program called “School of Friendship” Mattel In the diary British Medical Journal Questioning the conclusions drawn from scientific research funded by the company. As a result, a public debate was opened about whether this was appropriate or not, and what the company's intentions were.

What do we know? The company's “Friendship School” program Mattel It consisted of giving out dolls so that all the children could do role-playing exercises.

  • The company says the program has already reached about 700 schools across the country “with the potential to reach more than 150,000 students.”

what are they saying? Mattel He claims there is research showing that playing with dolls has “important benefits” for the evolution of creatures, one of which is empathy.

  • Conversely, experts noted that the program promoted gender stereotypes and, in addition, criticized one company's ability to implement a campaign using schools.
  • Moreover, while the company is appealing to the studies it funded, experts are skeptical of them, precisely because they were funded studies.
  • Among the conclusions of the studies: that playing with dolls provides more brain activity than playing with video games, and that children discover and express their thoughts and feelings better when playing with dolls.
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Context: Another highlight is that the campaign Mattel This coincided with the release of the film Barbiehe Life's work Championship doll Margot Robbie And Ryan Gosling.

  • It premiered on July 20 and managed to generate huge expectations.

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