Barbie, Meet the Real Barbie.
We all played with dolls or action figures and looked to them as role models, but did we really pay close attention to the affect they has on us? As children we jumped off the couch trying to fly, tried to spray spider webs out of our wrists, or pretended to freeze people. These actions came from playing with action figures, thinking that their reality was ours and we could do anything possible. There was nothing wrong with this. It widened our imagination and gave us confidence, as if we were invincible! Even when we played with dolls we brushed their hair, had tea parties with them, and treated them like our friend. We took care of them. It taught us responsibility and friendship. But playing with a Barbie doll is much different. Girls don't view this just as a regular doll. It is a perfect image of what every girl wishes they could be. It creates an impossible and unhealthy image to attain.
Barbie dolls. A doll representing a conventionally attractive young woman.
Barbie has created varieties of races with different hair and skin color but her body shape still remains the same.
Ken has disproportionate body measurements as well and creates this perfect image of a boy with a six pack, skinny legs, shiny white teeth, and clear porcelain skin.
Although Barbie has made an international collection with different outfits, hairstyles, and skin colors, her body measurements still remain unrealistic.
A study where two groups of girls were assigned to play with a thin doll or an average-sized doll was done. This study showed that the girls who played with the thin doll ate much less than the girls who played with the average-sized doll. The ultra thin beauty ideal she embodies has been linked to eating disorders and unhealthy images among girls. Young children who play with barbie dolls experience anorexia, low self-esteem, and body dissatisfaction once they hit puberty. It leads to long-term effects.
When young children are exposed to Barbie, they don't just like the way she looks. They want to be her. Not look like her but be her.