Barbie's Effect on Children

Topics: Barbie, Mattel, Ken Pages: 4 (1531 words) Published: May 2, 2011
In a Barbie World

Since the beginning, boys and girls have been put into separate groups and as children they are very different, especially when it comes to the toys they play with. One of the first teachings of a child’s gender role can usually be found in their toy chest. Boys had race cars, building tools, guns and action figures all being apart of their preparation for manhood. Girls had makeup sets, kitchenware, stuffed animals, and dolls. Although boys get their share of subtle societal conditioning, I am going to focus more on society’s psychological pressures on young girls through seemingly harmless toys. Barbie can be considered to be one of those toys, she programs young girls to think that her body image is normal. Though Barbie is just a children’s toy, she is a very controversial figure produced by Mattel. Barbie is the man’s ideal woman and young girls are playing with her. Barbie is more of a sex icon rather than a children’s toy.

If Barbie were a real person she would stand about 5' 9"and her measurements would be 39"/19"/33" (“Barbie Body Image”) which is a very unattainable and an unrealistic size, in fact her waistline would be 39 percent smaller than the average anorexic person (Griffin). The chances of a woman naturally having Barbie’s proportions is extremely unlikely. Barbie and many other fashion dolls do not represent realistic bodies, their perfect image can be incredibly damaging for young girls self esteem. The millions of young girls that are playing with Barbie are under the impression that Barbie is what they should look like. Barbie’s flawless body image is setting the standards of young girls expectations for their body very high at a young age.

Since a very young age girls have been playing with Barbie dolls and have become very familiar with her. Toys like Barbie also portray “gender and adult roles,” she also provides girls with a “tangible image” of social values and interactions (Griffin). Many girls look up to...
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