Blonde hair, blue eyes, business woman, rock star, princess and doctor, can you guess who? It’s Barbie. To be beautiful is to possess qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction, and for most, Barbie is the epitome of beauty. For years Barbie has been a doll that has been living in the hands of girls of all ages. Some girls start getting Barbies as young as three years old and continue to collect these dolls sometimes into early adulthood. But are these dolls a positive influence on young girls?
Barbie is harmful because she gives a false perception of beauty that effects the self esteem, health, and ethnic concerns of young girls. A small portion of feminist believe that Barbie is a good role model for our young women because she has had so many occupations over the years. In the last 50 years, Barbie has over 108 different jobs (Jones). Since the beginning of time it has been a stereotype for a woman to stay home and be a wife and mother.
However, today our woman are capable of so much more, and have dreams that go outside being just a wife and mother. Barbie has continued to show that the sky is the limit when choosing your future career. Although Barbie has been consistent with promoting people to chase their dreams, her body has not been so consistent. When Barbie first came out in 1959, she was the equivalent of 40DD breast size, and 7ft tall (Booth). Over the years makers have manipulated the dolls body to try to make her somewhat more proportional.
Even after making some changes to her body, manufacturers are so set on making her look like the perfect body, her measurements still come out to be a 32 inch breast, 17 inch waist, and a 28 inch waist, which is unrealistic for an average woman to achieve. To harm something, is to cause physical injury, or mental damage. Many young girls push to have the perfect image that Barbie upholds resulting in mental harm. The self esteems of young girls just continue to go down. They start to compare their body to the body image of Barbie’s, and get the wrong idea for the ideal adult body.
Although Barbie’s are given at a young age, girls continue to carry this concept of body image into their adulthood. In their mind this becomes their main focus. They don’t have a large enough chest, their thighs touch, they aren’t a size zero. These are all things our young girls think and over exaggerate, instead of focusing on all the good things about themselves. Pushing this body image instead of telling girls to embrace the beauty they were born with is just one of the many harmful things Barbie has accomplished.
Just being put-down by the body image of Barbie is not the only harm, but physical harm to a person’s health is a huge role with Barbie as well. When girls are so discouraged about their body image, they become desperate to change that. Desperate times call for desperate measures and for some of these girls that means dealing with some dangerous diseases. These diseases include anorexia and bulimia. Both of these are extreme and unsafe ways to lose massive amounts of weight that include either starving yourself, or throwing all your food up to make sure you consume zero calories.
It has been proven, that if Barbie was a real person, her waist would be 39% smaller than an anorexic patient’s waist (Martin). Girls are pressured to acquire the perfect body from all spots in the media, and with Barbie, it starts at a much younger age. If its not dealing with weight, girls have to change something about themselves that just doesn’t seem to be good enough. There are women going out and getting breast implants, and plastic surgeries every day to change something. Barbie stays hard, unrealistic, and plastic, and these girls are physically harming themselves to try to become hard plastic.
When looking at Barbie, you have always seen a white, blonde hair, blue eyed young lady. Barbie has never embraced all the beauty throughout the world. You have never seen an Asian, Indian, or even African Barbie. There isn’t even a brunette, red or black headed American Barbie out there. Over the years Barbie has accumulated friends and family members that aren’t the typical Barbie look, but there has never been a true Barbie made that has looked any different than blonde hair and blue eyes.
This is making these girls feel like the only way you can be “pretty” or “important” is to be a white, American with blonde hair. Girls need to realize that they cannot help the way they were born, and how they were born is beautiful. Barbie is sending out all these harmful messages that are all the farthest from the truth. Instead of Barbie sending out the message that you can do whatever you want, she is sending out the message that the only way to be beautiful is to look like her.
Some people would like to think that these beliefs are made by people who are just jealous. Made by people who also struggle with appearance, and since they cannot look this way, they are against this image all together. However, this is not the case at all. Jealously plays no factor in this at all, but the safety of our young girls do. Instead of giving them this doll and give them that they should strive from hard, unreal, plastic, we need to place a real, and positive role model that is going to make every girl feel beautiful in the skin they were born in.