Get Real Barbie

In my last blog post, "How the media hurts self-esteem", I talked about the pressures that society puts on women to look perfect. I was especially fascinated with the idea that a little girl first experiences these pressures when she receives her first Barbie doll.  From a young age (for me it was age 2), little girls are starting to think that the Barbie doll look is what they need to achieve. 

Barbie dolls have been popular for decades now, but even since the 90's Barbie's body has had a lot of work done:
As you can tell, Barbie now is much skinnier, her breasts are more emphasized, and her butt is rounder and bigger. Yes, to many men this is what an ideal women looks like but what society doesn't realize is that this body is impossible to achieve. 

The "Get Real Barbie" campaign was created by the South Shore Eating Disorders Collaborative through NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association). The campaign was to raise awareness during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. What they did was they took Barbie's measurements and pretty much stretched her out as if she was the size of human. The results are repulsive. If a real women were to have Barbie's proportions she would:
-be 5'9'' tall (which is taller than an average women)
-have a 39'' bust (also bigger than average)
-have an 18'' waist (WAY smaller than the average 34''-35'')
-size 3 shoe size (WAY smaller than average)
-weigh 110 pounds with a BMI of 16.24 (this fits the criteria for anorexia)
-have to walk on all fours due to her proportions
-would not menstruate

Here is Barbie with these measurements compared to a real women:
Do you see anything (or many things) wrong with this picture?  Barbie is unrealistic and most importantly unhealthy. So, why is Barbie the number 1 toy being given to toddlers? This all connects to my previous blog entry. Women are pressured by just about everything around, like media, but no one realizes that an innocent Barbie doll is doing just as much damage. This is even worse than magazines and runways because of the age difference. A women has to be somewhat matured to read magazines and sit still long enough to watch a fashion show, but Barbies are little objects that take no effort to be played with.  

This article describes some studies done on women that did show that exposure to Barbies at a young age leads to having more self-esteem issues later in life, well past the Barbie playing age.

Personally, I loved barbies as a little girl, and I can't help but wonder if that has an affect on as to why I currently have blonde hair, which is not my natural color, and why I am always body conscious and going to the gym almost every day. Did Barbie influence me to want to look exactly like she does? 

The biggest critique of Barbies is that she is a legitimate cause for eating disorders because of the unrealistic image women feel the need to succeed. Do you agree with this statement?  Do you think that Barbie should be remodeled so that she is more realistic?



Crazy how these dolls are changing over time to try and get people to conform to think that a normal woman should have that body when realistically it's physically impossible. Demi Lovato actually decided to release a "real" barbie doll that looks more similar to what a woman's body shape is! Check it out it looks so different!

Although this article may be true in that Barbie is unrealistic and to actually have a body like that is nearly impossible, what troubles me more is that so many young women and girls let a piece of plastic influence the way they view themselves. The worst known are the two women who went as far as getting surgery so they may look like Barbie. Although many people believe photoshop may have lent a helping hand, the pictures and results are frightening. Although I understand that society is a factor in how people act, it is sad that so many people lack the basic confidence and common sense to take care of their bodies. Women all around the world need to realize that achieving the body and "lifestyle" portrayed by the Barbie world is impossible. It disheartens me when I hear little girls and even young women our age wanting to look like a plastic doll. Sure Barbie has been a close part of the lives of most females, but that doesn't mean we should forget our common sense and general knowledge and model our lifestyle and health after glittering vinyl.

I did a report on this issue for my communications class. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg actually spent close to a million dollars making Public Service announcements fighting the traditional stereotype that you are referring to. Mayor Bloomberg is trying to get girls to feel more confident by showing that real girls are not the ones portrayed in the media, they are the 99% that doesn't have a model type figure. In this link is one of his ads.

To go off of Anushi's comment about the two girls that had surgery to look like Barbie, I have to agree the pictures are more than frightening. These girls actually look like porcelain dolls. The one girl, Valeria Lukyanova, is said to be "the real life Barbie." She might look the part as Barbie, but what she says in the article below is quite peculiar. She explained that when she adopted the image, she got a lot of negative feedback that hurt her image and reputation since she is a spiritual leader. She became a spiritual leader because of her out-of-body experiences as a little girl. She states, "I could travel outside of my body to other planets and universes." After communicating with aliens, Valerie came to believe that she and her spirit were not human, which means she will never be able to have children. I found that to be a lot to take in. I find that Valeria and her image are not good idols for young girls playing with Barbie dolls. I think that a way to help society and their idea of Barbie would be to give it a new spokeswoman. Not someone with the exact measurements of Barbie, but rather with heart and character of Barbie. There are many Barbie movies that show the good type of person Barbie is but if the Barbie Industry could come out with a spokesperson, that image would truly come to life. Kids need someone to look up to and if Valarie is all they have, then there may be a lot more out-of-body experiences going around.

I have seen this argument before, stated in many feminist petitions, speeches, debates, etc. The Barbie VS Barbie in Real Life discussion has been a topic I've heard about very often in the past couple years, when positive body image was reaching its peak. Being guilty of playing with Barbies when I was little, I honestly do not find it to have had any negative effect on my perspective. Today, I am an adult, and I can say the proportions of the Barbie doll were not much to stress about. It is literally a doll, something to simply admire for its beauty. Advertising and the media are the ones to blame for skewed body image. However, I see how it can impact the thoughts of young girls and their confidence. I've never come across that image of the real girl standing next to what a real-life Barbie would look like. She looks like an alien, absolutely nothing natural. Even professional models look more human than that. Possibly it is time for a revision of her body type, or the introduction to new toys that improve intelligence! Here's a few I came across:

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