Barbie Doll and the Unrealistic Body Image

Alittle girl begins to open her first present on her big day It is her 4”‘ birthday and her excitement is reaching new levels as she peels the wrapping paper and sees peek-a-boos of a pink box and a women’s blonde hair. Finally she increases her speed and rips open the wrapping like a starving monkey with a banana Her wishes came true and she is now holding her very first Barbie doll, and realizes what she must look like in order to become a treasure to our society.

  In a traditional American home a little girl between the ages of three and eleven are playing with a skinny, blonde character named Barbie and learning to act out the actions of an adult. While this might seem like an innocent doll, it can destroy a girl’s self-esteem, give her unhealthy expectations for her body, and also make her become overly materialistic. This all can eventually lead to eating disorders and dissatisfaction with ones life.

The children‘s toy was invented in 1959, by Ruth Handler the doll’s first career was a teen fashion model and came in both blonde and brunette and 20 years later, in red hair Barbie would become the most popular girl’s toy and would shape the ideal model of what women should look like.

This doll is every girl’s first role modeli Model Cindy Jackson explained on CBS News, “I looked at a Barbie doll when I was 6 and said, ‘this is what I want to look like,’l think a lot of 6»year~old girls or younger even now are looking at that doll and thinking, ‘I want to be herf“ Cindy is right on point.

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Although what these young girls don‘t know, is that if they were to have the body of Barbie, they wouldn’t even have enough body fat to menstruate and they would have to wear heels in order to stand. If she were human, her measurements would be 38- 18- 3, with a weight of 110 pounds and a height of 5’6” (“Barbie and Body Image”, Mirror Mirror). It is estimated that only 1 in 100,000 women actually have the doll‘s body image (“Barbie and Body Image”, Mirror Mirror) Barbie‘s proportions are completely unrealistic, unhealthy, and underweight.

This teaches girls that it is desirable to be thin. Not only is Barbie’s body unrealistic, so is the life she leads in the Barbie world. The doll comes with many material objects and careers that make her life seem perfect. With her 130 careers, come 130 more things she has to own (Matel, Careers). Barbie also lives in a stunning dream home with a dream Barbie cart Girls are being told that in order to be “perfect”; you not only have to be thinner than a straw, but you must also have every luxury. According to these standards women are running a never-ending race that is impossible to win. In return, killing their self-esteem, According to the article, “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”, a psychology experiment was done in the UK in 2006 to test the exposure of Barbie and another doll named Emme (This doll has average measurements of an adult women). The experiment proved that those who were exposed to Barbie have a lower self-esteem and a greater want for a thinner bodyt Setting goals that are too high can cause someone to think lower and lower of themselves with every failure.

When a girl looks in the mirror and isn’t skinny enough, she might refer to herself as ugly a study found that women between ages 18 and 25 would rather be run over by a truck then be over weight (Barbie and Body Image, Mirror Mirror). When they look at their second hand clothes, their 1995 Honda Civic, and their small apartment; they aren’t wealthy enought Barbie puts over bearing pressure on women to live up to standards that aren’t healthy and aren‘t attainable causing dissatisfaction with themselves.  All these factors can eventually lead many women to develop eating/body disorders to obtain this perfect Barbie body image some of these disorders include body dysmorphic disorder, which is when a person obsesses over something that they don’t like about their boy that is usually very minor. This can eventually lead to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia Bulimia is when someone might eat a large amount of food, then out of guilt, compensate with self-induced vomiting.

Anorexia is when one consumes an inadequate amount of food which can lead to severe weight loss. In a study on the connection of self image and weight among 5 to 7-year-olds showed that 40% of girls from age 8- 9 wanted to be thinner, along with 79% of 11-year» olds. You can probably already see the age correlation of the age’s girl’s start wanting to be thin and the age‘s girl‘s start playing with Barbies. Now out of these girls statistics say that 1-5% will obtain anorexia, and without treatment 20% of these girls will die (Anorexia Statistics, Mirror Mirror) Bulimia is more popular, About 2% of all adolescents are bulimic, and 95% percent of them are female (Statistics of Bulimia, Mirror Mirror) 5 to 15 percent of all adult women have some symptoms of the disorder. You also have to keep in mind that these numbers aren’t even counting the many women who don’t speak about their disorder and go undocumented. As you can see, Barbie is at fault for some of the body image crisis, and material obsession among women. Her body reflects something that doesn’t exist and is extremely unhealthy. Her life of “perfect”, such as her cars, house, boyfriends, and clothes makes girls want for something unfulfilling. Finally in some women it can go as far as unhealthy disorders and habits. Dolls need to be made to look like real, healthy women, they could even be made with common “flaws” that women have, because perfect doesn’t exist.

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Barbie Doll and the Unrealistic Body Image. (2023, Feb 22). Retrieved from

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