‘Anorexia Barbie’ banned from toy shops

A doll that could make Barbie look fat has been removed from shops in Sweden after a Facebook storm erupted over an upset mother’s snapshot.

Marja-Liisa Luther, from Umea, northern Sweden, spotted the emaciated toy, which is aimed a girls between the ages of four and six, in Barnens Hus store last week. Speaking to The Local, Ms Luther said, “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I picked it up. It looked simply awful. The other dolls are surely skinny enough as it is, and this was extreme,” she added.

After asking the opinions of nearby shoppers and receiving similar shocked responses, she took a picture of the doll on her phone and uploaded the image to her Facebook profile. “It became so much bigger than I had imagined,” Ms Luther said. “The picture was shared on Facebook an enormous amount of times and then the papers started calling me and the topic was brought up on TV.” Some online commentators called the doll – marketed as Defa Lucy Mermaid Princess – “sickly” and dubbed her “Anorexia Barbie”. The Barnens Hus chain has now removed the product from all of its stores across Sweden. Ms Luther explained to The Local that as a pre-school teacher, she is convinced that children can be influenced by their toys. “Kids who play with the doll will identify with it. They might feel that it is natural to be super-skinny and think ‘Well, maybe this is the way I should look too’,” she said. Thomas Westerdahl from Barnes Hus told the Metro that two other dolls were also removed from the shops in April for similar reasons. ”We are going to have a closer look at the doll [Defa Lucy Mermaid Princess]. I don’t think it will go back on the shelf again,” he said. “It is a miss in our internal screening system. This one shouldn’t have made it to the shelves,” he added.