How many years have people been crying out for a ‘real’ Barbie? And now we have it and it is rather anti-climactic. The new doll designed by Nickolay Lamm depicts a ‘typical’ 19 year old girl, with cellulite, acne and stretch marks. Is it really normal for a 19 year old girl to have stretch marks, especially ones which look like pregnancy stretch marks? If the old Barbie encourages a negative body image, maybe it could be argued that the new Barbie encourages teenage pregnancy.
The shape of the doll is significantly different to that of a Barbie, now we see a much shorter doll, in more realistic proportions but with a rather voluptuous behind. It is as though they have swapped the unrealistic bust of a typical Barbie and instead given it a J-lo booty which looks like it must squat 100 times a day. The original Barbie came out in 1959 when her figure was considered perfect but the definition of beauty changes over time and now a bigger behind is considered to be attractive and something young girls aspire to have, people even have surgery to make their backsides bigger.
We just need to look at Kim K to see how she has benefited from her assets! So has this new doll actually done anything to change people’s attitudes to the way they perceive their bodies or has it just changed the things that people feel inferior about? It is no secret that Barbie is way out of proportion, but there is greater issue here. If society is telling children that they need to look like a plastic toy then this where the problem is, regardless of the size of the toy. We should be teaching children that it’s okay to be like Barbie (some people are born with similar proportions) and it is also okay to not be like Barbie.
It would be impossible to show every type of figure and body issue in a toy or even a range of toys. Who grew up wanting to be like toy anyway? Very few people. The media is the real issue because it’s the women in the media that people aspire to be like, if there were more diversity then this is what would help to improve the way young people view their body image, not a piece of plastic. We would love to hear what you think this Barbie teaches and whether it does achieve what it is set out to.