Why Barbie Is Not A Good Role Model!

We live in a society full of superficial beauty and unrealistic expectations. We see women in magazines with photoshopped bodies and edited facial features. However, most of us don’t view them as “fake.” We see them as the idealistic appearance of what a “beautiful” woman is and what we should be striving for.

Instead of seeing them as uniquely individual and beautiful people, we only see how close to perfection they outwardly appear. Why don’t we see them for who they truly are? I believe one major contributing factor in this skewed misconception of body image is from the Barbie doll.

Mirror Mirror, a healthy body image website, stated that, “if Barbie was a real woman, she would be 5’6” and weigh 120 pounds. Her body fat percentage would be so low that she would not be able to menstruate. Her measurements would be 38-18-34. The average woman’s measurements, on the other hand, are about 41-34-43.”

From an early age, little girls are bombarded with images of what the idealistic girl and women should look like even though it is next to impossible to achieve.

Barbie is a blonde, beautiful young woman with an impossibly anorexic figure. Little girls don’t understand the problem behind the plastic; they see a fun doll to play with. That is the problem.

Girls play with Barbies as if they were their friends or sometimes themselves. They pretend to live in a world that is perceived to be “better” than the reality of the world that surrounds them.

Some skeptics may argue that Barbie is just a toy and has nothing to do with reality. However, every child is influenced by the toys they play with. That’s why society is constantly giving children toys that are designed to prepare them for their adult life. Toys such as doctor’s kits, plastic kitchens, shopping carts, and baby dolls are all components to steering a child into typical and stereotypcial adult lives.

Unfortunately, some women have taken Barbie to a whole new level. Valeria Valeryevna Lukyanova, a Moldovan-Ukrainian model and entertainer, won the Ukrainian national beauty contest Miss Diamond Crown of Ukraine in 2007. She models herself after the Barbie doll. Kayleigh Dray, a journalist for Closer wrote an article on women as “human Barbies.” According to Dray, Lukyanova famously said: “Look, to me the Barbie doll looks perfect; it was created as a human idol. When I adopted her image, it felt very positive.” photo credit: Googleimages

She claims that the only surgery she has had were breast implants. She achieves her “Barbie look” through makeup and large colored contact lenses, which she wears over her green eyes.

Obviously, not all children are going to take Barbie to this extreme. Yet, this story highlights the effect the Barbie doll can have on a little girl’s perception on what beauty should be.

The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness reports that, “70 million people worldwide suffer from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. About 90 percent of those with eating disorders are young women between the ages of 12 and 25.”

An unhealthy body image is a huge problem in our society. I don’t believe Barbies should be completely eliminated, but I think they need to be re-evaluated. The Lammily doll, a more realistic Barbie doll, is a great alternative.

Nickolay Lamm, a graphic designer told The Washington Post that he created the Lammily doll because he wanted to send a message that “reality can be beautiful.” Lammily is a doll without make-up, that has stretch marks, and even a few extra pounds.

When children got the opportunity to play with the Lammily doll, they loved her. The young children had such remarks such as “She looks like me,” and “I think she looks beautiful and realistic.”

The concept behind Barbie as a doll to play with provides many hours of fun for young children. However, let’s give kids some positive reinforcement and a doll they can realistically relate to.


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