Most young girls nowadays and since the 1960’s have been playing with Barbie Dolls. Dressing them up, doing their hair, and putting them in any and every possible scene that they could be in, practically making a life for the doll. I was even one of those girls who praised Barbie for being absolutely perfect. These days Barbie is portrayed by the media as the perfect girl with the perfect body and the ideal looks that make men attracted to them. Seeing how Barbie is portrayed as the perfect woman makes girls believe that they have to be like her and change themselves to become “the perfect woman”.
Researchers and doctors have proven that a real life Barbie could never be realistic based on her physical proportions. If Barbie were a real woman, doctors predict that she would be forced to walk on all fours like an animal and would be incapable of living life normally, not to mention the health risks she would have. Based on her measurements and physical proportions, she would 6 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds. The picture below shows a comparison of the US average measurements of a woman to the measurements of a life size Barbie (Olson). In most of the body parts listed, there is a drastic difference between the measurements and you can see how unreal and unattainable it really is.
Even considering the unattainable body that Barbie portrays, women still have found the need to want to look just like her. Some women, such as Cindy Jackson, as explained in this article, have been so inspired by Barbie that they have undergone multiple plastic surgeries to achieve the Barbie look. I have seen some pictures of women that have had surgeries to obtain the Barbie body image and its surprising that they are living and breathing. Not all girls however go to the extreme of getting surgeries, but a large number however have been affected by wanted to obtain the look. Barbie dolls have been proven to teach children that they should be skinny and blond to be accepted in the world. There are even connections between Barbie’s body image and eating disorders found in women and young girls.
The studies that have been done show that girls who have played with Barbie dolls when they are younger grow up and have eating disorders. It is however, fact that girls who have eating disorders might not exactly want to look like a Barbie doll, but do however want to have a better body image. It is reported by the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness that 70 million people worldwide suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia and about 90 percent of those are between the ages of 12 and 25 (Barbie and Body Image). Wanting to obtain the perfect body because they are surrounded by that with the portrayal of Barbie and the media today influence girls to want to become something they aren’t which makes them resort to unhealthy ways of obtaining that. Some research even compares the physical proportions of a real life Barbie doll to not only the average size of a woman in the US but also to the average size of girls who suffer from anorexia. It is honestly shocking to see that even those with anorexia have significantly more realistic bodies than Barbie does.
Social media and children’s toys greatly have an impact on the way people, especially young children view themselves. Just knowing that a toy can lead women and young girls to obtain eating disorders to want to become what they think they have to be is just so sad. However, I do believe that the company that created Barbie is starting to create, or have already started to make more realistic dolls so that the negative effects will no longer be prevalent. This article questions if this would actually work and actually mentions a couple studies that have not linked Barbie’s body image to the way young girls view themselves. To be honest, I think that have petite, tall, and curvy sized dolls to choose from is amazing and shows the world, and especially young girls, that they don’t have to be a Barbie Doll.
Olson, Samantha. “Why Are Barbie’s Body Measurements So Unrealistic? Little Girls Aren’t Buying It.” Medical Daily. N.p., 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
“Barbie And Body Image.” Mirror-Mirror. Mirror Mirror, 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.