Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Body Image Barbie

[Image: Barbie via Flickr user Tracheotomy Bob]
 Did you play with Barbie Dolls when you were a child?  I remember that Barbies were more my sister's thing, in fact her closet is still full of their clothes and dolls and carrying cases (her closet at home anyways). 

I recently read this article about the proportions of the Barbie doll and whether that is contributing to an unhealthy body image for girls.  Mattel says that it's not about that.  It's about the fact that Barbie needs to be able to handle tiny clothes that fit her well.  And, more importantly, a Barbie bought today should still be able to fit most of the clothes that you and your mom had from 55 years ago.  That's an argument I definitely understand.

However, the article features this image:

I think the best way to explain this image is here.   Which led me to the Healthy is the New Skinny website, which is actually kind of interesting (though Model focused, not kid focused...)

But back to the point.  And yes, I realize we've already talked about this here on the blog.  But still, it's a lot to take in.  Now that I'm preggo with number 2, and there are lots of other women at EG's school who are also expecting number 2, I've seen these ladies compare their baby bump to mine.  Saying things like 'how far along are you, you are so small', etc. etc.

When did we learn to compare ourselves to others?  When did we learn that what is normal for her, has to be normal for me.

Now I understand that you'll want to complain that Barbie is a national symbol.  She's in everyone's home, etc.  But I can't ever remember a moment when I thought that I should look like Barbie.  I'm sure when I became a teenager (long after my legitimate play with Barbie days were over), I might have had that thought.  Come across a Barbie and looked at her in her perfect outfits and thought 'how crazy'.  But did I do that at 5 years old?   They say the target market for Barbie dolls is 3-12 years.  I'd say that 12 years old is a bit old for a Barbie nowadays, but I'll let you know when EG gets there.

Still, harping on Barbie with 'fact sheets' like this? 

Are Barbie dolls going to be part of the Mommy wars?  Like breastfeeding vs bottles, or co-sleeping vs the crib? 

Do you let your daughter play with them?  Is there something magical about doing what you did as a kid with her too?  Or are you worried about the message your sending?

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