The Barbie Doll was first patented in 1958 by a young woman from California named Ruth Handler. The Barbie doll is well know for her long legs, her tiny waist, blonde hair and blue eyes, and her huge chest. This “perfect” plastic body has had multiple positive and negative affects around the world for the past fifty years; Barbie was based off of a German prostitute comic strip character named Lili. She was meant to be a steady outlet for young girls dreams and an constant changing reflection of American society. The Barbie Doll promotes an unrealistic idea of body image for young women and children.
“Mattel received many criticisms about Barbie and the impact she has on young girls around the world. The new Barbie will have a more natural body shape – less busty with wider hips. ”” (Barbie Body Image) In a 2006 Developmental Psychology article, psychologists found that girls between 5 and 8 years old who were exposed to pictures of Barbie were more likely to have lower body self esteem and a greater desire for a thin body. Victoria’s Secret models are much like the Barbie Doll: around 6 feet tall, long and tan legs, a tiny waist, flat stomach, and a huge chest.
Completely unrealistic for most women and teens that try to mirror this image, this could lead young girls to copy Barbie and these models and it could increase likely hood of anorexia or bulimia. For example the “Slumber Party” Barbie came with a book titled “How to Lose Weight” which was advised: “Don’t eat. ” The doll also came with a pink bathroom scale reading up to 110 pounds, which would be at least 35 pounds underweight for a woman, like Barbie, that was 5 feet 9 inches tall. There is a woman, Cindy Jackson, who was so impacted by Barbie that it became her life mission to look exactly like her.
Her obsession to look like Barbie started when her parents bought her first Barbie at age 6, and she didn’t give up until she reached her goal. She ended up spending around $55,000 and went through 20 plastic surgery operations to reach her goal of becoming a Barbie look alike. Her procedure wish list consisted of: Liposuction, Dermabrasion, Chemical peels, Fat transfers, Mole removal, Microdermabrasion, Eye lift, Nose job, Facelift, Cheek implants, Breast implants and more… It is clearly impossible to reach this ideal image that Barbie portrays without major alterations of our natural beauty.
Cindy Jackson is a perfect example of a woman who was so effected and influenced by Barbie’s “perfect” body that she felt a very strong need to change her own body to match societies idea of beauty. Not only has Barbie stirred up a huge controversy, and left a positive and negative impact on our society, but she has become a part of society. Barbie has effected and very much changed our society from body image, to childhood dreams. Before the Barbie doll the dolls that were produced were baby dolls.
Baby dolls were seen as dolls where young girls could practice their mothering skills, there was no controversy about the baby dolls body. Today the some of the most popular dolls (like the Bratz dolls and Polly Pocket Dolls) look more like Barbie than baby dolls. Along with effecting other dolls Barbie has effected the mind set of young girls and the stereotypical body image for a woman. It is true that the impact Barbie has changed and influenced societies all around the world and the Barbie doll has been a major impact in History.
Whether you choose to consider Barbie as a positive or negative revolution there is no doubt in my mind that she has drastically changed society forever. I believe that Barbie has negatives and positives to her but I only ever viewed her as a doll, not as something that I had to look like. Almost every day as a 6-9 year old I would go to my neighbors house with my favorite Barbie and we would play with them in her Dream House, we never wanted to be like Barbie, she was just a doll. My parents explained to me that you don’t have to conform to society, be yourself and people will appreciate you.