Entertainment / Features

Not Your Average Barbie Doll

By Edita Diunov

Staff Writer    

For almost 60 years, little girls have grown-up with the concept that they should look as aesthetically pleasing as Barbie dolls, who are known for being pretty, delicate and thin. Today, many still try to imitate that look, even though it is anatomically impossible.

A study conducted in 2004 and printed in 2006 by the Journal of Developmental Psychology shows that women and young girls, who are given Barbie dolls, are reported to have lower self-esteem, and are more likely to suffer from eating disorders. The promotion of unhealthy self-imagery caused a terrible reality: 90 percent of the women that suffer from eating disorders are between the ages of 12-25, and of those women, five to 20 percent will die from anorexic complications.

In order to expand this vision of beauty, Mattel, the company that manufactures Barbie dolls, began to produce “petite,” “curvy” and “tall” versions of the original Barbie. While Mattel’s main reason for creating the new Barbie dolls was to increase sales, it eventually taught people to accept others that look different.

“One size doesn’t fit all,” said Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of TTPM, a toy review website in New York. “This gives people different options when choosing a Barbie for their child.”

Society is slowly accepting that there is no single standard of beauty, but is it enough? Mattel conducted a study where little girls played with this new version of Barbie. When left alone in the room, they took off Barbie’s clothes and chuckled about her “fat” physique. However, with adults present, the girls spoke in a more positive manner and stated that the dolls were “chubby,” “full” and “curvy.”

The new Barbie versions are necessary for future generations to understand that internal beauty is more important than appearance.

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