In the past few decades quite a few people have suggested — citing most often the offence of impossible proportions — that Barbie dolls teach young girls to hate themselves. But the opposite may be true. British researchers recently found that girls between the ages of seven and eleven harbor surprisingly strong feelings of dislike for their Barbie dolls, with no other toy or brand name inspiring such a negative response from the children. The dolls “provoked rejection, hatred, and violence” and many girls preferred Barbie torture — by cutting, burning, decapitating, or microwaving — over other ways of playing with the doll. Reasons that the girls hated their Barbies included, somewhat poetically, the fact that they were ‘plastic.’ The researchers also noted that the girls never spoke of one single, special Barbie, but tended to talk about having a box full of anonymous Barbies. ‘On a deeper level Barbie has become inanimate,’ one of the researchers remarked. ‘She has lost any individual warmth that she might have possessed if she were perceived as a singular person. This may go some way towards explaining the violence and torture.