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WOMEN'S GROUP CALLS ON MATTEL TO REPROGRAM BARBIE; NATIONAL 'RECALL THE DOLL' CAMPAIGN IS LAUNCHED

WOMEN'S GROUP CALLS ON MATTEL TO REPROGRAM BARBIE; NATIONAL 'RECALL THE
 DOLL' CAMPAIGN IS LAUNCHED
 WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Association of University Women (AAUW) today called upon Mattel Toys to recall their "Teen Talk Barbie Doll" because the group says it perpetuates a sexist stereotype damaging to young girls' self-esteem. At least one of the talking Barbie's randomly programmed quotes is, "Math class is tough!"
 "We are pleased that Barbie has finally been given a voice, but it's a shame that Mattel didn't give her a more confident one," said AAUW President Sharon Schuster. "We ask Mattel today in a letter to President Jill Barad to recall and reprogram these dolls immediately, before millions of little girls learn from Barbie that math is too hard for them.
 "Pre-teen girls most likely to play with Teen Talk Barbie are at the highest risk for losing confidence in their math ability," said Schuster. "Barbie has been criticized in the past for presenting girls with an unobtainable model of female physical perfection. By reinforcing the dated stereotype that math is too hard for girls, Barbie can undermine girls' confidence in their mental ability to do math. Why can't Barbie say, 'I'm good at math' or 'Math class is fun?'"
 "The AAUW Report: How Schools Shortchange Girls" found that many girls are discouraged by teachers, parents and textbooks from taking courses in math and science. "As pre-adolescent girls lose their interest in math and science, our report found a corresponding drop in their self-esteem," said Alice McKee, president of the AAUW Educational Foundation, publisher of "How Schools Shortchange Girls."
 "Unlike boys, girls' decline in math performance is preceded by a loss of confidence in their ability to do math," added McKee. "Boys who struggled in math were more likely to attribute it to lack of effort or believe that math wasn't interesting, while girls blamed their own inability."
 AAUW's 135,000 college graduate members in 1,800 branches nationwide will be asked to telephone Mattel's Consumer Affairs Hotline, 800-421-2887, to support the "Recall the Doll" campaign. Other women's and educators' organizations will be notified and strongly encouraged to contact the toymaker.
 -0- 09/30/92
 CONTACT: Pamela Hughes or Gabrielle Lange of the American Association of University Women, 202-785-7700 CO: AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN; MATTEL TOYS ST: DC -- DC008 -- X379 09/30/92
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Date:Sep 30, 1992
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