Barbie, Meet the Real Barbie.

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Walking on two feet. That's natural, right? Not for Barbie. If she was a real person, she would have to walk on all fours. Her body is so distorted that she wouldn't be able to stand or lift her head. What kind of image is this setting for younger girls? Being exposed to such a doll and thinking the doll has endless talents and beauty is creating this unattainable goal for girls. They end up feeling they need to be this way.

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.

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Barbie dolls. A doll representing a conventionally attractive young woman.

This is the definition of a barbie doll. It's bold, direct, and misleading. Barbie is a cultural image for female beauty that presents an "aspirational role model" for young girls. Barbie is supposedly this exciting and perfect image yet she doesn't have real-life body proportions. Her neck is too long and thin to hold her oversized head up. Her head is two inches larger than the average American woman. Her body is so disproportionate that she would have to walk-on all fours in reality. Her stomach is too tiny to fit her liver and all of her intestines in it. Even if she tried to walk on her feet she would fall right to the ground because they are size three children feet. She wouldn't be healthy or capable of any motor skills. These body parts were compared to an average American woman and were not similar. But when compared to an anorexic American woman they were disgustingly alike. Even Ken dolls were more realistically proportionate to an average American man's body. Changes in Barbie's face have been made over the years and an international collection has been created but the dimensions of her body are still the same. What image is this creating for young children who play with these plastic unrealistic dolls?
Her disproportionate body measurements, long blonde hair, big blue eyes, glistening clear skin, and dramatic eye make up has lead young girls to feel the need to look that way. This is hysically impossible. She has young girls striving to be like her. Young girls who go to far measures to have the "ideal" body.

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.

Barbie and Her Accessories

Barbie has it all. She can be anything she wants to be. A doctor, police officer, veterinarian, swimsuit model, pageant queen, and so much more. She has a big house and cute boyfriend, Ken. She has the ideal dream life. Her life is a fairytale. The house is gigantic even though she is the only one who lives there. It is glamorous, full of furniture, several designs, and decorations. Pink everywhere. Who wouldn't want to live like this? Girls get this image in their head that all of this is possible and that living this glamorous life is the best way to live. But if they don't have her looks, house, boyfriend, or talents, they are left feeling discouraged and worthless. Is she even a role model for these young children or just symbol of unrealistic and unattainable dreams?