Growing up, I remember I would beg Santa for the newest Barbie. BUT, I was not like the children growing up in today's society. I never really looked at how thin she was, the color or feel of her hair, her skin tone, her corvette, or Ken. Although I did want a camper and swimming pool like her....Lucky me, I did not grow up wanting to be like Barbie.
LOOKING BACK ON BARBIE
In 1965, Barbie came as the Slumber Party Barbie. After hearing about how trashy this doll was, I was interested to see if what everyone had said about this Barbie was true. Indeed it was.
The doll also came with pink bathroom scales reading 110lb, which would be at least 35lbs underweight for a woman 5 feet 9 inches tall according to the experts. Mattel, Inc., the manufacturer of Barbie was sensitive to these issues and in 1997 Barbie's body mold was redesigned and given a wider waist, with Mattel saying that this would make the doll better suited to contemporary fashion designs.
In 1992, Teen Talk Barbie was the one to have. This Barbie's Motto: "Math class is tough" did this Barbie evoke a negative image? Mattel explained this controversial Barbie on their website, "Barbie once said, “Math class is hard!” but has since amended her stance to, “Math is hard, but not impossible!” Obviously, or else Barbie wouldn’t have excelled in her science and math classes to later become a surgeon, dentist, baby doctor, zoologist and many other scientific professions".
In 1995, The first release of Teacher Barbie included a doll wearing a cleverly designed jumper but no underwear. Many people argued that this doll was inappropriate for young children since the doll didn't come with underwear. Really!
The question remains, is Barbie a healthy body role model for girls who come from actual human genes and not a plastic mold? Dr. Robyn Silverman, a Body Image Expert does a nice write up on her blog The Truth About Barbie: Galia Slayen’s Life-Size Barbie on The Today Show.
Galia Slayen created a life-size model of Barbie in order to prove that very point. Standing at about 6 feet tall, with a 39” bust, 18” waist, and 33” hips, Galia used the stats published in Margo Maine’s book, Body Wars, to construct the details. This was the most amazing thing I have seen a young student do for Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
The pictures say 1000 words.
Now days, Barbie is sporting the fishnet stocking with pantyhose. Her breasts are bigger then her head. Her shirt shows cleavage, her skin sports a tan, her legs are defined. Her waist is the size of my wrist. She is Barbie, she has it all. As a parent do I not allow my daughter to play with Barbie? The answer is NO. I feel as long as my child is confident and has self worth, reality in our home of what really means the most (love, health, family, friends, etc.) she can play with Barbie all she wants. I also take time to correct her and explain to her when she questions Barbie's life. One day she will see Barbie was not real. Life does not come that easy. I continue to educate.