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Exploring Body Image Issues via the Barbie Doll Essay

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Picture yourself as the ‘perfect’ woman. Embodying every woman’s dream. You are undeniably gorgeous, weighing in at 100 pounds, standing 6 feet tall and holding nearly 150 careers (barbiemedia.com). Yes, this is the beloved, ever so ‘inspirational’ childhood toy, the perfectly perfect Barbie Doll. Barbie is America’s most beloved toy, considering young girls between the ages of three and eleven own at least 10 Barbie’s throughout their childhood (‘Life in Plastic’). As creator of the Barbie Doll once said, “My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented that a woman has choices,” (Handler). However, Barbie has proved to serve the opposite effect and these ‘choices’ are growing slimmer and slimmer with increased exposure to this popular doll. The ‘Barbie Syndrome’ is an undeniable culprit of girls’ inherent desire to strive for perfection. Barbie’s unattainable beauty, multitude of different careers, and extreme lack of diversity has lead to overall negative effects within women in today’s society. Consequences include ceaseless desire to be perfect, perceived limitations on future careers, and overall lower rates of self-esteem.
Since Barbie’s debut in 1959 she has been influencing young girls and swaying their perceptions of beauty when in reality her body, measuring 39-18-33 (bust, waist, hips) is unable to bear a child, she would be incapable of holding up her own back and neck and she is so disproportioned she would need to crawl on all fours (Slayen). Despite popular belief, maybe it is beginning to seem as if Barbie is not so perfect after all. However that has not stopped young girls from admiring their Barbie Dolls perfection, and in ...


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...aim that playing with Barbie Dolls is heavily understudied and could be the answer to gender socialization and be associated with unintended consequences in regards to limitations for their future selves. Hypothesizing that girls who played with Barbie Dolls are more likely to believe that boys have more career options than girls and girls that played with Mr. Potato Head, or a more gender neutral toy, were likely to anticipate equal job opportunities for both men and women.

Slayen, Galia. "The Scary Reality of a Real-Life Barbie Doll." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 Apr. 2011. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. .
"Teen Health and the Media." Teen Health and the Media. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2014. .



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