- Category: Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)
- Published: 12 March 2014
In 1959, Mattel introduced a new toy at the NYC American Toy Fair, Barbie. With blonde hair, red lips, dark eyeliner, and a tiny waist, she was the "it" toy. Barbie has had a 55 year long successful career.
Barbie was first introduced to inspire young girls to be successful in careers of their choice, and not being a housewife. If Barbie could do it, so could you. Barbie had it all; a career, sisters, a hunky boyfriend and friends. When I was growing up, that is what Barbie stood for.
As young girls, we spent hours dressing up Barbie in her bikini, placing her in her hot pink convertible, pretending she was driving to the beaches of Malibu. As a young girl I did not pay attention to the thin body Barbie had, I just wanted to play with her.
Unfortunately, today in our image driven society, people have started to look beyond the true purpose of Barbie. People are associating young girls' body image issues with the infamous doll. Recently, there have been numerous "normal Barbie" campaigns appearing everywhere.
Animator Nickolay Lamm has so much disdain for Barbie that he has created a new doll, named Lammily, to market to young girls as more image friendly. Nickolay claims that girls' expectations of what their bodies look like are severely altered due to the unnatural proportions of Barbie. Although, hundreds upon hundreds of stick thin women are shoved into little girls faces everyday. Clearly Barbie, with her plastic torso and rubber legs is what is giving young girls body issues. Okay Nickolay.
When I read the article "The New Barbie: Meet the Doll with an Average Woman's Proportions" in Time about Nickolay Lamm and his new doll Lammily, I was so angry. First off I would like to ask Nickolay, did he ever play with a Barbie? I cannot once remember playing with my Barbies and thinking, "Wow, I wish I had the same body that Barbie does."
Girls do not look at Barbie as inspiration for how they should look, girls look at real women for inspiration in what they hope to look like. I wonder if anyone has actually asked little girls what they think about Barbie's body.
I haven't played with a Barbie in years, but I cannot think that the generation gap has become so large that little girls playing with Barbies now look at them in awe of their bodies.
I played with my Barbies living vicariously through her. She got asked on dates, had a great career, an awesome house, plus tons of awesome clothes and accessories. Sometimes my Barbie was a mom, sometimes a CEO. Whatever I felt like that day, my Barbie could become it. She is a way for little girls to express their imaginations for what their futures will hopefully look like.
Barbie is a beautiful fantasy toy and that is just it, she is a toy. Girls grow up surrounded by average bodied women; their moms, teachers, aunts and friends' moms. These are the women that little girls look up to. Girls are smart enough to know that a piece of plastic with pointy toes and gravity defying breasts is not what any real women look like. Please give us girls some credit.
We love our Barbies; we live out our little girl fantasies of adulthood through them, then we tear their heads off and grow up. We eventually enter reality and think every woman we look at in any type of media has a perfect body.
This is where girl's distortion of a woman's body image comes from, not from an innocent child's toy. If girls are so "affected" by this image, perhaps making an average looking super hero is the next point on some animator's agenda? Because boys are just as subject to body shaming as are girls.
Do not wreck little girls' psyche at an early age by shoving a curvy doll in their face telling them they need to be aware of how their body looks and how it's okay. Childhood is the only chance in life you get to live in complete bliss, so leave little girls, and Barbie, alone.