Thursday, May 04, 2006

WTF is Wrong With Barbie? (Part 2)

Anorexic Barbie
In the year 1992, it was found that the average American girl owned 7 Barbie dolls. However, with all this popularity, this so-called icon of America has caused a lot of grief for the manufacturer, Mattel. In a book entitled, Forever Barbie, author M. G. Lord talks about the "collective subconcious of America" that has been "taken for granted." The biggest problem that people have with Barbie is that she is misproportioned. If Barbie was human-sized, she would stand at 5 foot 6 inches tall, weigh 110 pounds, have a 39 inch bust, an 18-inch waist, and 33-inch hips. Critics believe it is this outlandish scale of the human body that is detrimental to young girls' views of themselves.

Conclusion Barbie
Now that Barbie is no longer a dumb blonde or some unsuccessful airhead (because of her multi-faceted career choices), I still don't understand why everyone picks on Barbie. It just doesn't make sense to say that Barbie is causing little girls to question their self-image just because she is not realistically proportioned. Raggedy Ann dolls don't make girls want to be a redhead, just like Strawberry Shortcake doesn't make them want to smell like fruit. (Maybe the critics should look at those Bratz dolls...?)

I would think that playing with Barbie dolls would be a positive influence because they'd make girls want to own nice things, thus attempting to be more successful. After all, you have to make money to have nice things like a Barbie Dreamhouse and matching Sporty Corvette.

How can people say that a healthy self-image comes from playing with a toy, when the rest of the environment of the young girl should be held accountable. What about commercials that advertise cars and pasta but show beautiful, buxom women?

When I was younger and playing with Barbies, I just thought it was fun. I was not coveting her forever tippy-toed feet or her pencil-thin waist. I just liked to dress her up and comb her hair, and pretend that she was going out with friends or on a date. Barbie was not a figure I vicariously lived through, but a doll that did things I'd one day like to do. Besides, I had my own idol to look up to as I matured: my mother. With a beautiful, intelligent, independent, and successful woman living and breathing and interacting with me daily, when it came to looking up to someone, what did I need some plastic doll for?

Inventor of the Week (profile) - inventor biography, doll history
Detrius Projects - Forever Barbie, proportions
January Magazine - Forever Barbie, M.G. Lord
Barbie's Website (Mattel)

[Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. This webpage in no way affiliated with or represents the opinion of Mattel, Inc. or its affiliates.]


MAYBF22000 said...

Snce we will never in person meet nor will I ask for your personal address or phone number, I can honestly speak Their hair color didn't matter. Most were exposed to the same rugged treatment as my GI Joes. They were exposed to rain, snow, dirt, and dust. As I grew older, I made sure that the collector editions were taken care of better. Having no sisters, it was not acceptable behavior. The perception that some how a plastic toy would decrease my masculinity; cause gender confusion; or create homosexual tendencies was very evident in my parents and siblings thinking. However, this was unfounded on the fact that I being an individual with a strong sense of self would never be unable to differentiate the fantasy of a toy with the reality in which I exist. All toys are inferior to the real things. Toys only allow us to dream. Our actions determine what we will become. The shopping and accessories associated with how girls play with their dolls was not a part of my childhood. However, I did learn why it takes some females longer to get ready for dates, appointments, and so on. Therefore, I knew how to allow extra time for my dates to get ready to go out. There was no stress about how long it had taken because I understood the preparation needed for them to get dressed. For some reason, my sibblings expect me to be ashamed or embarrassed about having dolls from a preteen until now. The truth is that I am not. Nobody controls me like some puppet on a string. If you don't like it, then get over it. Telling little girls that action figures; toy cars or trucks; robots; or lego type toys are only for boys denies their indviduality and limits their creativity. I enjoy my toy diecast collection of ships and planes though in reality I cannot swim nor fly because of my fear of extreme heights. One has no bearing on the other. Though I have action figures with their extreme muscular bodies, that could never be attained by me in reality. So I do not waste my life trying to be like them. People can either accept me or reject me. That is their problem and not mine. Being healthy is more important than being popular for me. I have seen some really attractive people at funeral homes. They were dying to be popular. I never thought Ken was better than my GI Joe. Ken just seemed too wimpy. However, I dont hold that standard to real guys because they are not made of plastic. Because of Barbies, I am more independant, stubborn, determined, and understanding. This would not have been the case had I not permitted the toy to influence me in this way. NO TOY has that power unless you willing allow it. Though this was a long post, I needed to say it.

Sweepea said...

Thanks for your honesty! I love your comment: "Toys only allow us to dream. Our actions determine what we will become." Amen to that!

Elena said...

Great article. Your last words about your mom made me cry 😂