Lottie doll launched to steer girls away from sexualised Barbie type toysIan Harkin

A new doll has been launched in the hope her wholesome image and realistic body shape will help steer young girls away from more sexualised products like Barbie or Bratz.

Entrepreneur Ian Harkin, 38, of Battersea, London, first launched the Lottie doll in August, and it has since gone on to win eight awards.

The doll went into production after Mr Harkin carried out research and focus groups with parents, nutritionists and child psychologists.

Lottie has a body shape based on the dimensions of an average nine-year-old girl, and is flat chested and slightly smaller than other 'fashion' dolls such as Barbie.

Mr Harkin says he was inspired to create Lottie after he read a report by nutritionist Dr Margaret Ashwell who said the current dolls available could have a negative impact on girls perception of body image.

Lottie's clothes reflect her interests, which include ballet, horse riding, and the great outdoors.

Speaking to his local newspaper, Ian Harkin said his research found that mums and dads felt their children were 'growing old too fast'. Lottie he says, is just a 'normal girl'.

"She is not going to nightclubs and driving around with boys, she is playing outdoors using her imagination."

Before creating Lottie with his colleague Lucie Follett, Ian's company made Kate and William royal wedding dolls. He spent 18 months planning the Lottie doll, and intends to launch six more dolls into the range next year.

The dolls are priced at £16.99, and have reportedly had the celebrity thumbs up from mums Amanda Holden and JK Rowling.

We're reminded of The Simpsons' episode - Lisa v Malibu Stacy.

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Would you buy this doll for your kids?