Struts: the new sexed up toys raising parents' eyebrows

New Struts dolls.
New Struts dolls. 

And you thought Bratz dolls were bad. Meet Struts,  the pony dolls with high heels and handbags.

Made by Playmates toys, the dolls are billed as "an attitude and a lifestyle for girls who are on the cutting edge of what's hot in fashion."

"Struts combine a girl's natural fondness of horses and her love for fashion dolls," reads the brands' website.

Geared towards girls aged 5-8, they may appeal to girls who have outgrown My little Pony. But are the long lashes and impossibly thin limbs of the Struts sending the wrong message to children?

Psychologist Dale Atkins, quoted on the Today Show website, is concerned about what these kind of dolls say about a girl's own appearance.

“When we have these ridiculous models — sexualized children, and horses with long eyelashes that are flirtatious and all of that — it sets up this ideal of beauty and body image that kids have to pay attention to because they can’t not pay attention to it. And they feel less good as they’re trying to develop a good sense about their own bodies," she says. "The sexualized aspect just makes them feel like they're only good if they are objectified. ... And it's all so subtle, for a child anyway. We parents and adults look at this and say, 'Oh my gosh, this is so blatant, but in fact it's subtle because kids are playing with these things and then they look in the mirror."

Would you buy Struts dolls for your daughter? See what mums are saying about the toys and join the conversation on the Essential Baby Forums.