Reinforcing Positive Body Images in Children
When buying a doll for a child one of the things you might like to know is how suitable a particular doll is for the age of the child, and what subliminal message the doll's size and shape will send to this precious youngster. It's not always possible to know as much as you want from a promotional photograph of a fully clothed doll, so we've put together some dolls without their clothes and made comparisons to help.
One of the main differences are the body shapes of the dolls.
In our photograph here, you see dolls whose body shapes represent girls from age 3 to 11.
From left: Gotz Precious Day Jessica, Gotz Classic Kidz Laura, With Heart & Soul Kidz 'n' Cats, Gotz Hannah and on the far right WeGirls doll, Idealist.
At a glance,the dolls' bodies look pretty similar, but that's because they are all within 4cm in height of each other. Looking a bit closer and comparing and contrasting them with the development of children, you can start to draw meaningful comparisons between the dolls.
If we take a 3 year old child, the typical physical appearance of his or her body is that the legs will be short and out of proportion to the arms. However, the head circumference will be in better proportion to the body than when they were a baby. Looking at the photo above, Gotz Precious Day (far left) and WeGirls (far right) resemble this age group in terms of body proportions. A child of age 6 has a head size approximately the same as that of an adult and the body will be in adult-like proportion. The body of Gotz Hannah (2nd from right in the photo above) has similar proportions to this age group. Both the Kidz 'n' Cats (middle in the photo above) and the Gotz Classic Kidz(2nd from right in the photo above) show the body in proportion and appearing to slim a with longish limbs.
Below, see Gotz Precious Day, Paola Reina Every Girl and WeGirl dolls. These dolls look like they might be ages 3-5.
Below, see Paola Reina Las Amigas, Vestida de Azul Carlota and Paulina, then Paola Reina Soy Tu dolls. These dolls look a little older, perhaps age 5-7.
From age 6 onwards children will often grow taller but not much wider until they are 8 or 9 years; it's just the limbs that seem to grow and the bodies appear lanky.
Below, see Via-E, Kidz 'n' Cats, Gotz Hannah and Happy (also Classic) Kidz dolls. These dolls start to look a little bit older.
At around the age of 9, some girls will start to develop their pre-teen shape. The Happy Kidz body (above far right) resembles a 10-11 year old girl as it has slightly narrower waist giving appearance of hips, a rounded tummy and no longer a completely flat chest.
Happily all of these dolls have passed safety tests for children from age 3 to play with them. Comparisons of dolls unclothed can be helpful if you are mindful of a child's developing body image as it allows you to really take in the whole doll and form your own judgement of the most suitable one for the age of the child.
Experts believe that children develop a sense of a normal body image from a very early age and this can go on to affect how they see themselves and their body shape as they get older. Certainly, some doll brands come under scrutiny and criticism for creating dolls with unrealistic body proportions that young girls perceive to be aspirational. The doll brands at My Doll Best Friend make dolls with healthy child-like bodies.
Hopefully seeing the dolls unclothed has drawn some attention to the differences between the dolls and helps make your choice of which doll to buy a little easier!