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12/14/2012 04:41 pm ET

Lottie Dolls Get Real To Promote Healthy Body Image For Girls, Company Says (PHOTO)

Amazon.com

At least by doll standards, Lottie dolls look like 9-year-old girls are supposed to. And that's their selling point, according to reports.

Manufactured and marketed as an antidote to unrealistically proportioned dolls, like Barbie, and suggestively-dressed dolls, like Bratz, the wholesome Lotties have sold by the thousands since hitting North America this fall, the Toronto Star reports.

British manufacturer Arklu teamed up with a pair of professors to determine the proportions of an average healthy 9-year-old and worked from there, according to the paper. Lottie, designed for play by pre-and grade-school girls, is flat-chested, sturdy-legged and has a waist a lot wider than the middle of an hourglass.

That means girls who receive the doll as a gift this Christmas don't have to wonder why they don't look like Jessica Rabbit.

“Toys are not just toys,” Arklu co-founder Lucie Follett told the Star. “When they have overly sexualized bodies they can have damaging impacts on girls’ self image.”

According to a 2010 study of Dutch girls published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, playing with average-sized dolls didn't alter the girls' body image perception, but did cause them to eat "significantly more" afterward.

The Lottie dolls cost $19.99 and include such characters as English Country Garden Lottie Doll, Autumn Leaves Lottie Doll and Spring Celebration Lottie Doll.

"Her clothes, makeup and hair would look out of place at either a Rihanna concert or a brothel," the Guardian wrote last month, adding, "Hurrah!"

Abi Moore, founder of PinkStinks, which campaigned against gender stereotyping in the marketing of toys, told the Guardian that Lotties were a step in the right direction "but there's still some way to go." The dollmaker said it was working on a Lottie athlete, the paper added.

The San Francisco Chronicle summed up Lottie's charm with a dig at Barbie's beau, Ken: "Designed for girls aged 3 through 8, Lottie's a kid's kid, eager to engage in creative and imaginative play. Of course she has a variety of accessory packs ... but instead of an anatomically baffling boyfriend, there's a picnic set and all the kit needed for activities like raising a beagle or a backyard pony."

Of course, Lottie isn't all basic 9-year-old: She still has an oversized head and eyes.

She's a doll, remember?

PHOTO

english country garden lottie doll

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