Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's a Barbie World

When Galia Slayden, a Hamilton College student, created a life-sized Barbie with insane proportions it got a lot of attention ... including mine.  In case you missed it (I have a link below), her Barbie's bodily features are way out of whack.  Slayden is displaying her attention getting Barbie in order to raise awareness about eating disorders.  Of course, a debate has ensued whether Barbie is to blame for some young girls' inaccurate body images.  However, agree or disagree, Galia Slayden is getting tons of publicity for her cause, one that is very personal to her.

As a mother of a daughter, I've been feeling a little concerned since this story broke on NBC's Today Show.  Most especially worrying is that the picture below depicts our extensive Barbie collection.  (Please disregard any unclothed Barbies that may appear in this image!)
Mattel has issued a statement basically saying that Barbie was never based on the proportions of an actual woman. They stopped short of saying, "Duh."  Well, obviously, I pretty much knew that, though I hadn't given it much thought in the past.  I do wonder if we should assume all young girls would know that.  After all, as the song, "Barbie Girl" by Aqua, states, "Life in plastic, it's fantastic."  In truth, even adults have the capability to fall prey to unrealistic and exaggerated expectations from time to time.  In this way, it is a Barbie World.  We may not be competing to match up with toys; yet, from this mom's point of view, there's plenty of self-imposed pressure ... if you so choose to buy into it. 

I've decided to try out the poll gadget here on blogger.  Here's the topic: should Barbie be held accountable for the crime of promoting poor body images.  Besides, all the major starlets seem to have spent some time in a court room. (Paris, Lindsey ... why not Barbie?)
Is Barbie innocent or should she be held accountable?  You decide! 
Place your vote on the right of this post.

Here's the link for those who missed it on the Today Show:
Here's the Barbie Girl song by Aqua


  1. Your Barbies are in a good state compared to mine (legs pulled off, funky haircuts...).
    Barbie is just Barbie, I think it is up to us Mums to explain to our darling Daughters how life really is...

  2. I'll play the women's studies card and vote against Barbie. I had many Barbies and loved playing with them; however, I was pretty young when I realized that Barbie was in perpetual high heels. I liked my sneakers so I thought it was kind of silly.

    It took someone to tell me that Barbie's figure wasn't realistic. After that, I resented her childish femininity, her materialism, and overt sexual-lessness. I mean, Barbie and Ken couldn't have realistic sex! (I only understood missionary back then.)

    Is she evil-in-carnate? No, but I do think the doll promotes a ton of negative messages colorfully wrapped and considered a harmless, irrelevant toy.


  3. I have to agree with mumugb on the Barbie front. While I do scoff at her proportions and wonder about her ability to not fall over, I'm not convinced she is to blame for such body issues. Now, I may not have girls of my own yet, I don't believe my insecurities came from my dolls but rather from the "real life" images in magazines and TV. Of course it probably didn't hurt that I was drawn to the "plumper" cabbage patch dolls than ole barbs.

  4. I guess I'm on the fence. My daughter loves Barbies - she is more into the clothes than the actual dolls. I have actual toyed with the idea of dyeing their hair because I'm so bored with all of them having that platinum blond hair - it looks like my mother's group at church! We have talked about how there are many different beautiful shades of hair in the world. Even worse it is hard to find a Barbie with light brown hair the color of my daughter's hair. I do like that she has different jobs now though how she is to teach preschool in that low top and high heels is beyond me. :)

  5. I never liked her and am glad that my daughters were never interested. I used to know a woman who spent half her time making clothes for her daughter's Barbie. That's the way I will always picture her. Now, my girls had life size dolls--size 2, I think, that could wear their hand-me-downs! Jean Kelchner


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