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Anorexic doll? Toy company under fire for doll that refuses food

An “anorexic doll” that is being marketed in the UK is drawing sharp condemnation from critics who say the doll, produced by the Spanish company Famosa, is promoting unhealthy eating habits in young children.

Eating disorder activists are calling for the “Nenuco Won't Eat” doll to be yanked from production.

Dubbed by opponents as “anorexic,” the doll appears to be healthy, but when a young child goes to feed it, the doll turns its head, says TouchVision via Yahoo! News on Sunday.

The doll is being sold under the name “Nenuco Won't Eat,” and inside of its head is a magnetized device which turns Nenuco's head when a child goes to feed her. The “mother” can get Nenuco to eat by turning the spoon and pressing it against the doll’s lips.

The doll is due to go on sale next month.

The doll’s maker says she is designed to help children understand a scenario familiar to many young mothers – the frustrating struggle of getting babies to eat.

However, critics call the doll “deeply worrying” and say that a more dangerous subliminal message is being sent which encourages children – girls in particular – that’s its acceptable to refuse food.

“This doll sends the wrong message to children and encourages them to think that refusing food is normal behavior,” says Chris Leaman, policy manager at YoungMinds. “We would not want children to be influenced by this, and are concerned that it promotes unhealthy attitudes towards food and body image.”

Nikki Jeffery, UK marketing director for Famosa, said the doll just “represents real life play.”

“We know that children often don’t eat what they are given, but the doll is designed to show them how important it is that they eat properly,” Jeffery said. “It is about enabling young girls to have the closest experience possible to being a ‘real mum.’ We are not encouraging children not to eat.”

What are your thoughts on this new doll? Young children are becoming aware of body image at a much earlier age. A doll that is designed to refuse food, realistic as it may be, would hardly seem to be setting a proper example.

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