much damage can a 53-year-old buxom blond have on girls’ self esteem
and boys’ images of women?
Not enough to
ban Barbies from one expert’s house.
professor of political science, religious studies and philosophy at
Carroll University and editor of the book "You’ve Come A Long
Way Baby, Women, Politics and Popular Culture," admits that her
6-year-old daughter, Sophia, owns multiple Barbies. "Sophia has a
ballerina Barbie that was mine. She tends to cut all the hair off her
Barbies," Goren adds, proudly.
For Goren, a
bigger concern is the Disney princess obsession that has a strong grip
on even younger girls. "The pretty, long-haired, slender, tall,
generally non-ethnic portrayals of women; for a 3-year-old to
understand what might be wrong with this picture is part of my
medical and cultural anthropologist agrees. "I think Barbie has
set the standard — the skinny white blonde." Masley reluctantly
applauded Mattel for its latest attempt to enhance the message. The
"I Can Be" campaign features Barbie in a variety of careers,
such as an architect (albeit with a minidress) and computer engineer
carrying a pink laptop. Masley adds, "They’re trying to be
empowering by telling girls, ‘you can be anything you want, like an
architect, but a white, blond, tanned, glammed-up architect.’ There’s
a contradiction with their campaign and the message they’re sending
biggest issue is cover models plastered on magazines. "All the
images we see of celebrities and models are photo shopped so their
faces and bodies are not based in reality. The message that it sends:
This is how you have to look. Anything less is unacceptable."
The pursuit of
that fake perfection is a dangerous one. Goren says, "All these
statistics with regard to eating disorders, psychological insecurity,
breast implants, botox. Women and girls are pursuing unattainable
ideas of beauty and the concept for men is that women should all look
will continue to fly off toy shelves, and new magazine covers will get
displayed every month. Goren says parents and teachers have to make a
conscious effort to counter these messages. "The effort to
address it on an individual basis is to attempt to build up
self-confidence and self-esteem that is built on all components of an
individual, not only on appearance." Goren advises parents,
"Tell your daughter she’s smart and funny, tell (your kids)
they create beautiful art, they play violin well, so they understand
they have a diversity of attributes to present to the world. They don’t
have to make their way in the world based on their beauty."
consumers to take action. "Do something, speak up and act, be on
the Barbie website, write a letter to Barbie." Fortunately,
feminism is alive and well: The National Organization for Women,
created the annual "Love Your Body" campaign 14 years ago.
According to NOW’s website, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are
dissatisfied with their appearance. The purpose of the Love Your Body
campaign is "to celebrate self acceptance and promote positive
body image." Masley took part in a past Love Your Body program at
Alverno College. She explains, "We would look at ads, and
(students would) change them and make them empowering. They made a
mobile out of them, they gave Barbie all this body hair." Masley
adds that on pictures of models that were wearing the highest heels
and had clearly airbrushed complexions, students wrote: "Don’t
your feet hurt? Don’t you have any pores?"
Toy maker Lego
recently rolled out a new line of toys geared toward girls age 5 and
up that should excite parents of girls. Lego Friends’ 23 toys in new
colors will hopefully get girls building and creating. While Lego
Friends has plenty of pinks and pastels, the line may cut into the
popularity of that buxom blond we sometimes love to hate.
When legendary shoe designer Christian Louboutin dressed a
limited edition Barbie in 2009, he asked Mattel to create an
even thinner version of the popular doll. Why? According to
Louboutin, her ankles were too big (ouch!). In response, www.ivillage.com
put together a realistic look of what Barbie’s measurements
would be if she was a real woman. Let’s take a look:
feet would be a child’s size 3.
bust size would be 39 inches, and she would have to crawl to
support her top-heavy frame. Her bra size would be a 39 FF,
putting Dolly Parton’s 40 DDs to shame.
measurements would be an unrealistic 39-21-33. The likelihood of
a real woman having Barbie’s body shape is less than one in
wouldn’t have room in her arms to have all her bones.
head would be almost triple the size of a normal-sized head. Her
neck would be twice the length of a normal neck, and it would
only be able to hold either a trachea or an esophagus —
leaving her to choose between eating and breathing.
I think we
know which she would choose ...
Information courtesy of www.ivillage.com