Barbie, If Looks Could Kill

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Hannah Mekeel Pg1

Barbie: If Looks Could Kill
Almost every American girl desires a Barbie at some point, for the chance to vicariously live her fabulous life. The average girl from ages 3-11 owns upwards of 10 Barbie dolls throughout her childhood, with hours on end spent exploring a Pepto-Bismol colored world, where Barbie has any dream job. For 53 years, Barbie has been an American standard of beautiful. With her leggy, busty figure and unattainable body measurements, neatly wrapped in pink packaging and a sunny disposition, Barbie has had over 80 careers, ranging from the President to a McDonalds’ cashier. When she’s not teaching or fighting fires, she still manages to maintain her Barbie dreamhouse, her body, and her dreamboat of a boyfriend, Ken. In the world of Barbie, a girl can have it all! But not all is sunny in paradise since the emergence of a Barbie backlash, as parents and child development experts begin to see the possible connections between young girls who play with Barbie’s and adult woman with body issues or eating disorders. The question becomes; What are these toys teaching young girls about their bodies, their gender, and their role in society? Is the character that has become Barbie a role model for all women can achieve? Or, have Barbie been teaching young girls that the perfect, attractive, and socially valuable woman is thin, always glamorous, always happy, and always silent? Since Barbie was first debut in 1959, she seemed to be a picture perfect role model for middle class, American girls. She was perfectly thin, had a perfect family, perfect hair, perfect car and house. Yet how was this image of a perfect woman affecting the millions of young girls who were playing with her? Some would argue that Barbie’s thin, but busty and hippy figure, instill in young woman an idea of the perfect body, desired by men and envied by other women, Mekeel Pg 2

all the while, completely unattainable. "If Barbie were an actual woman, she would be...
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