For many American girls, being “model thin” is a very real aspiration, and it starts at a shockingly young age. Images of thin female models and actresses who look beautiful by modern American standards and appears happy; many girls including the youngest and most impressionable view them as role models. A popular cultures icon known for many generations is the Barbie doll. Barbie’s ultra thin body frame is so thin that her weight and body preparations are unattainable but also unhealthy. This is suggesting to young girls to negative body images and unhealthy eating habits. For young children, fantasy and play are vital parts of socialization in which they internalize ideals and values (Sutton Smith,1997), and dolls provide a tangible image of the body that can be internalized as part of the child’s developing self-concept and body image (Kuther and McDonald, 2004).
An experimental study was performed to provide how Barbie has an impact on young girls and how it affects their body shape and body esteem. During this study we examine how Barbie causes girls’ feelings of unhappiness with their bodies and their desire to be thinner. There were three main research questions that are the focus of this experiment. First, do images of Barbie have an immediate negative impact on girls’ body images? Does exposure to images of a doll with more realistic body size result in the same negative effects? Is the impact of exposure to Barbie images age related so that effects differ depending on school-year group (grade level)? During the study, we compared effects of exposure to neutral images (which contained no body-relevant cues) but also with exposure to images of Emme (U.S. size 16), a new doll based on the full-figured eponymous American supermodel and endorsed by the
Who is Your 3
American Dietetic Association for helping to promote a more positive body image for girls (A. Mendelsohn, 2003). During the study it consists of 162 girls from...