The Barbie Doll: Perfect in an Imperfect World
Imagine long blonde hair, perfect tan skin, a tall slender body with perfect measurements and outfits that only accentuate the perfect features. It might be hard, or impossible, to bring to mind a human being who could fit these characteristics. If I were to say, long blonde hair, perfect tan skin, a tall, slender body with perfect measurements and outfits that only accentuate her plastic body, what comes to mind now? Young children have received Barbie dolls as gifts for many years. Many times the buyer of these toys only pay attention that it is just a toy, something any young child would love to play with. Barbie, although, should not just be viewed as just a toy, but also poor influence on children’s body image. Many factors of Barbie affect how a young child can perceive body image. The Barbie’s body measurements and proportion, and overall appearance can all be factors in distorting young children’s self-image.
We live in a world where no two people are the same. People come in all shapes and sizes, whether that is weight related or height related, however, Barbie only comes in one size. With the body measurements of Barbie being 36-18-33, referring to bust, waist and hips, many children begin to think that this is in fact, the correct body image. The question is, why would we want to supply a young generation with a doll whom they are likely to idolize, but can never reach her appearance? Authors Dittmar, Halliwell and Ive’s research (2006) found that girls who were exposed to Barbie’s at a young age, were found to have lower self-esteem along with a desire to have a thinner body (p. 284). This research supports my position that the Barbie dolls promotes children to believe that these small measurements are necessary to have a good body image. It is important to teach children that there is not one specific body type that is the correct and that everyone will have different proportions, but that’s what...
References: Dittmar, H., Halliwill, E., & Ive, S. (2006). Does Barbie make girls want to be thin? The effect of experimental exposure to images of dolls on the body image of 5- to 8- year-old girls. Developmental Psychology, 42.2, 283-292.
Thomas, L. (2006). Is it time for a ‘Barbie is innocent’ campaign? Nursing Standard, 20.52, 27.
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