Little girls have always tried on Mum's lipstick and pearls in front of the mirror, pretending to be grown ups. But trying on Mummy's high heels never used to equate to an understanding of their monetary value, or the bearing of the brand on the wearer's social status; and it didn't equate to an entry into the world of consumerism.

Barbie: no longer about playing with dolls

So, are makeup and manicures in an actual Barbie-world store, where the main aim is marketing to 2-8 year olds, too much too young? Are little girls growing up too fast?

On the one hand I'm inclined to think yes, there's a certain loss of innocence that co-incides with one's first pang of desire for a pair of gorgeous and expensive shoes, and even more so with the first thought of 'do I look fat in this.' The best part about being a child is the ability to be blissfully carefree.

But on the other hand, is that being too protective? Is the Barbie store all just a bit of fun and unlikely to have any lasting impact on society? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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