Barbie as a Real Person Has Freakiest Boobs & Waist Ever


barbieWhen we were little girls, most of us had at least two major female role models: Our moms and our Barbie doll. And although we end up growing up to look much more like our mothers, our grandmothers, or our aunts, there's something about Barbie -- in all of her hot pink glossy blonde glory -- that somehow manages to make a greater impression on our psyche.

Even if it's way way way in the back of our heads, as adult women, we still believe that tall, thin, blonde, and busty is the beauty ideal. Hey, maybe it's because the fashion, media, entertainment worlds buy into that ideal more times than not. (Not all the time, but often.) That belief can manifest in our lives in a bevy of ways -- from lamenting the occasional fat day or frequent fat talk to full-on eating disorders.

Recognizing this, one young woman named Galia Slayen decided to face her "Barbie issues" head-on ...

Having struggled with anorexia as a teen, the now college sophomore built a real-life Barbie to illustrate the warped, negative body image the doll promotes. Slayen explained:

I dressed Barbie in my old clothes. The skirt she still has on today is a reminder of who I once was. That skirt, a size double zero, used to slip off my waist when I was struggling with anorexia. I put it on Barbie to serve as a reminder that the way Barbie looks, the way I once looked, is not healthy and is not "normal," whatever normal might mean.

Joining with the National Eating Disorders Association, Slayen is spreading awareness about the scary reality behind taking Barbie too seriously. We've all heard that given her measurements, Barbie would have to walk on all fours, but here are some other "Get Real Barbie" stats the NEDA shares that I found particularly startling:

• A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.

• At 5'9" tall and weighing 110 pounds, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.

• Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 pounds and a book entitled How to Lose Weight with directions inside stating simply: "Don't eat."

This info doesn't make me feel like if I have a daughter one day, I'd never allow her to have a Barbie. And I don't believe having one results in battling an eating disorder. But I do think it's interesting to recognize the conscious or subconscious impact the doll has or had on most American women's body image at some point in time. Because if one stinkin' plastic doll can haunt us all the way into adulthood, it can't hurt to have a reality check like the one Slayen is offering.

What do you think about Slayen's real-life Barbie? Do you think the doll promotes a negative body image for women?


Image via Richard Newton/Flickr

body image, eating healthy, weight loss, self esteem, eating disorders, emotional health


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butte... butterflymkm

I'm on the fence about Barbie. I dot know if I will let DD get one. If she got it as a gift I would probably let her keep it but I wouldn't purchase one for her. I think it's important to tell your girls that Barbie is unrealistic in looks.

nonmember avatar Katie

I applaud Galia for taking on the Barbie image! I will always be a fan of the doll, but I absolutely understand the intent and purpose behind what Galia and the NEDA are doing. Out of curiosity, are these stats with Barbie's newer dimensions? I know they have changed since I was a girl (I'm 24). Mattel decreased the size of Barbie's chest and increased the size of her waist fairly significantly a few years ago. When I was little, Barbie's measurements meant that she wouldn't have even been able to stand upright if she were a real person -- That's how huge her chest was! And her torso was so small, she would've been missing major organs ... Just crazy! Still, I see no harm in Barbie overall. Maybe her measurements should be a little more realistic, yes, but she also inspires girls to pursue careers like engineering -- And that's pretty cool! The key is to raise your daughter with balance, and give her a variety of strong female role models.

Jess 'Harris' Townsend

^^ I'm with you. i have quite a few collectible Barbies because i think they are interesting and fun. My Scarlett O'Hara is one of my prized possessions. but i personally don't remember ever wanting to look like Barbie or viewing her as a person or as anything like a person. to me, she was just a doll with interesting clothes. I don't think that Barbies promote anorexia or necessarily instill those thoughts into young girls' minds. i think it's everything on television and magazine covers that we have to worry about. 

PonyC... PonyChaser

Why do we blame Barbie? It's a doll. Our little girls play with them, generally between what, 7-10?  But they live with their parents from the age of 0 to 18, and often beyond. They watch TV through all of those years, they read magazines with headlines of, "Look who has cellulite!!" and "Look who gained weight!!" - accompanied by unflattering pics taken of women who are likely 20 pounds underweight.  They shop with mom, and hear her in the dressing room: "crap! these jeans make my ass look fat! No more Ice Cream!!" They go to the beach with a mom who won't put on a bathing suit because it "makes her look fat".  They go to school with girls who examine every morsel of food that goes into their mouths, even as they use it to comfort the feelings inside them. They endure the taunts of hormonal boys who make cracks about weight, not necessarily out of hate, but out of true ignorance - not knowing the kind of damage that can be done.


PonyC... PonyChaser


And yet, we want to place the blame on a single line of dolls? When there are other dolls out on the marked that glorify appearance far more than Barbie (hello, Bratz dolls!)?

Please. Dumping on Barbie is shutting your eyes to the true problems that our little girls face. Watch them play sometime - I guarantee that, for most, the play is centered around the pretty dresses, the fun shoes, and Barbie's career-of-the-moment, an astronaut, a mom, or a teacher, whatever that little girl dictates. (Mine were always horse trainers.)  Rarely will you ever hear how skinny Barbie is - and if it is, look at what surrounds that little girl every day. That's where you should start placing blame.

nonmember avatar Gertie

Barbie is grossly out of proportion. Barbie is considered beautiful by little girls. However, most dolls are grossly out of proportion... I guess Barbie is only a problem if your little girl holds her up as her ideal. I mean Strawberry shortcake isn't exactly realistic either.

ankle... anklebitr

'm mostly with ponychaser on this one.  Today's barbie doesn't look like that so Slayen must have used the babrie that she remembers as a child.  Funny though because that's not how I remember barbie.  I'm mostly annoyed that 'real life' barbie's boobs are so big.  If you actually lookat the doll it wasn't her boobs but her ribcage that was wide. 


momka... momkaribg

The need to make a barbie in a real woman size.

nmmama09 nmmama09

I played with Barbies all through my little girl years and never felt like I had to look like her. I guess I knew that would never happen, a short American Indian girl with brown skin and black hair  would never look like her, at least the ones that I played with. I never thought about her size, I was more worried about having the cool barbie clothes and shoes, and I had to fight off jealousy when my friend got the convertible and I didn't! I think that if a girl looks to a Barbie as a model of how skinny she needs to be, there are bigger problems.

nonmember avatar Abby

I also had Cabbage Patch Dolls growing up and I never wanted to look like them (thank goodness.) It's a doll. Not a role model.

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