Venus of Willendorf vs Barbie Humn 303

Powerful Essays
Exalted Beauties
The Venus of Willendorf vs. the Barbie Doll
Kristin Groth
Chamberlain College of Nursing
HUMN 303: Introduction to Humanities
January, 2015

Exalted Beauties: Venus of Willendorf vs. the Barbie Doll The Venus of Willendorf is known for her voluptuous figure, and is often regarded as an icon of fertility, health, and abundance. Barbie is known for her blonde hair, big blue eyes, and her size zero figure, she is often regarded as an iconic representation of beauty (The icon, n.d.). These two figures could not look more different yet they do have some things in common. Both are female, manmade, and both are inspirational in their own way, and are both distorted images of the female form, both representations of women are what the artist envisioned in his mind and not necessarily an actual likeness to the women of their time.
Who are they? Venus of Willendorf is a small statuette discovered in Austria in 1908, by Josef Szombathy. She is named after the site in Austria where she was unearthed; she is the first known human figurine and is considered an icon of prehistory. The statue dates back to the Paleolithic era between 24,000-22,000 BCE, where she was carved from oolitic limestone, she stands 11centimeters tall (Seshadri, 2012). She has been referred to as obese, with her large abdomen, wide hips, swollen thighs, and her pendulous breasts; the statuette has no face or feet, and small arms resting on her bosom. She either has her hair braided around the top of her head or is wearing a basket type hat which was popular at that time (Holloway, 2014). It is argued that she was not obese but actually pregnant, explaining her exaggerated figure (Kettlewell, n.d.). Barbie debuted in 1959. She was created by a woman named Ruth Handler. Since at the time only baby dolls existed, Ruth wanted an adult doll for her daughter Barbara to play with. She noticed her daughter pretending that her paper dolls were grown up, getting

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