Thin and sexy vs. muscular and dominant: Prevalence of gendered body ideals in popular dolls and action figures
We examined the extent to which popular dolls and action figures were portrayed with gendered body proportions, and the extent to which these gendered ideals were associated with heterosexual “success.” We coded internet depictions of 72 popular female dolls and 71 popular male action figures from the websites of three national stores in the United States. Sixty-two percent of dolls had a noticeably thin body, while 42.3% of action figures had noticeably muscular bodies. Further, more thin dolls were portrayed with more sex object features than less thin dolls, including revealing, tight clothing and high-heeled shoes; bodies positioned with a curved spine, bent knee, and head cant; and with a sexually appealing facial expression. More muscular male action figures were more likely than less muscular ones to be shown with hands in fists and with an angry, emotional expression, suggesting male dominance.
Murnen, Sarah and Boyd, Hope, "Thin and sexy vs. muscular and dominant: Prevalence of gendered body ideals in popular dolls and action figures" (2017). Body Image 21. Faculty Publications. Paper 49.