They denounce possible covert marketing in UK schools

03/08/2023

Toy company Mattel She has been criticized for a “secret marketing campaign” after free Barbie and Ken dolls were distributed to schools in the UK as part of a program to teach empathy to children, according to an article by British Medical Journal (British Medical Journal). Controversy arises in full fury around the film BarbieDirected by Greta Gerwig And heroically Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

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Investigative journalist Hristio Boichev reported that the program “Barbie Friendship SchoolFrom Mattel, which provides children with dolls for role-playing exercises, it has rolled out to 700 schools across the UK, “with access to more than 150,000 students“, according to the company.

Mattel says it has sponsored research showing that playing with dolls offers “significant benefits” to children’s development, including enhancing skills such as empathy.

But experts have criticized the program, raising questions about the potential negative effects of Barbie dolls in terms of gender stereotypes, and questioning the use of research to justify the program. In addition, they question whether companies should be able to freely promote their products in schools.

“The project makes me suspect that it might be offensive,” he said. Philippa PerryPsychotherapist and author of books on parenting and education. “It makes me a little disgusted,” he says.

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For this part, Mark PetticrewA professor of public health evaluation at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine described the program as “worrying”.

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“Commercial entities like Mattel are not experts in children’s health or education, but in selling products to maximize profits,” adds public health specialist May van Schalkwyk, also of Harvard University. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “Mattel’s materials are so heavily branded, why are kids exposed to this kind of covert marketing?”

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