Pursuing Plasticity

barbie body

This Huffington Post infographic titled, “Is a Barbie Body Possible?” shows how bizarre a life-sized Barbie would actually be by looking at the physiological issues that would occur if  Barbie was a real person. The first frame displays a table comparing measurements for the average woman in the United States with the measurements of a life-sized Barbie of equal height. The most striking difference is the disparity of the waist measurements, which is 35″ for the average woman and 16″ for Barbie. It is noted that she would only have room for half a liver and a few inches of intestines. Barbie would be incapable of lifting her head and would have to walk on all fours due to her disproportionately thin neck, wrists, and ankles.

The conclusion of this visual argument is that it would be physically impossible for Barbie to function as an actual human being. So what does this say about our society’s idea of the “ideal” female figure? In this example the Barbie doll represents the distorted body image held by the majority of women in the United States. This thin propaganda could be trigger an eating disorder when placed in the hands of the malleable young girls. Parents need to implement positive self-image in their children (especially young girls), since signs of disordered eating can develop as early as 5 or 6 years old. Studies have shown that eating disorders have steeply increased in recent years, partially due to the constant exploitation of people’s negative body image in today’s marketing schemes. Truth is, models, actresses, and Barbie dolls will always be around to threaten our self-esteem. But actually trying to conform to these emaciated bodies will only lead one to destroy their health through starvation and purging. Besides, Barbie wouldn’t look so glamorous in real life crawling around with half a liver. So next time you find your child comparing herself to a plastic doll, gently remind them that Barbie isn’t real, she’s actually a freak of nature.


2 thoughts on “Pursuing Plasticity

  1. Wow! I loved this post! I think all girls can relate to this since most girls probably played with Barbies when they were younger. Most shocking for me was that Barbie has a waist of 16 inches and the US average is 35 inches!! That is an extreme difference! Although I think it’s still okay for young girls to play with Barbies, I also agree that it’s important for parents to make sure their daughters know that Barbie isn’t real. I think moms should teach their daughters that being beautiful is more than how you look.

    • I agree. I think it would be way too extreme to suggest kids shouldn’t play with Barbie dolls because they might develop an eating disorder later in life. However, it is important that we teach kids early on not to try to emulate unrealistic body types such as hers.

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