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Do you remember when you were a little girl and enjoyed playing with baby dolls and Barbie dolls? I can recall when I was only six years old and I received the new Barbie camper and Barbie doll for Christmas. Back then, I thought that Barbie was fun to play with and I used my imagination to play “make believe” that I was Barbie. What little girl wouldn’t want to be beautiful and perfect, like Barbie?

As Barbie celebrates her 50th birthday today, a lawmaker named Jeff Eldridge wants Barbie banned in West Virginia. He believes that Barbie puts too much emphasis on outer beauty and materialism, instead of focusing on intelligence and emotional development.

To better understand Eldridge, lets consider how the average woman compares to Barbie. The average woman is 5‘4“, a size 12, has a 37” bust, a 29” waist and 40” hips. A Barbie doll is 7‘2“, she has a 40” bust, a 22” waist and 36” hips. A Barbie doll’s neck is TWICE the length of a normal humans neck! NOTE: Several websites provided various measurements of Barbie that ranged from the above measurement to 39-23-33. The exact measurement is questionable, but very apparent that it is UNATTAINABLE and DISTORTS a healthy body image for little girls.

The typical American girl, aged 3-11, owns eight Barbie’s. How could American girls grow up in our society with a healthy body image and a positive self-esteem if they are receiving the unconscious and disturbing message that females must be tall, slender and physically beautiful to be considered acceptable?

The truth of the matter about Barbie’s unrealistic measurements is that even if she were human and did marry Ken, they would never have children. Based on research done by Rader Programs, the percent of Barbie’s body fat would be so low, she would have ceased to menstruate. That is if she ever started because she has been grossly underweight since the beginning!

At the Vanderbilt University’s Wellness Resource Center located in Nashville, TN, they are dedicated to help members develop and increase their awareness of every aspect of wellness. They believe that wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence. In addition, the resource center believes that wellness is a holistic concept involving physical, spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, and environmental dimensions.

The Wellness Resource Center has a life-size Barbie Doll for the public to view. She is built in direct representation to the actual Barbie doll. The purpose of Barbie is to force people to see what an unrealistic image young children (in particular young girls) have as their ideal model. Read some of Barbie’s specs below and find out just how UNREALISTIC she is . . .

The REAL Barbie . . .

  • would have to crawl to support her top-heavy frame.
  • would only have room for a radius OR an ulna in her arms.
  • would only have room for a tibia OR a fibula in her legs.
  • would only have room for an esophagus OR a trachea in her neck (she could either eat OR breathe . . . we guess she must just breathe)
  • would wear a size 3 children’s shoe
  • would have a severely distorted face (like the pictures of aliens), due to the almost triple average size of her head.

At an age where children are very impressionable and seek to be like the role models around them, whether it is dolls or the media, it is important for parents to use positive role models, especially for girls. Parents could promote a positive self-esteem in their children by seeking real life role models, such as doctors, teachers, women and men in history, artists, writers as well as moms and dads.

Another way to promote a healthier body image is by teaching your children about their true identity and how they were created to be unique with special talents all their own. One program that aims to promote a healthier body image is The True Campaign. The goal of their program is to end the crisis of distorted self image by challenging cultural ideals about identity and beauty.

Personally, I do NOT believe that every little girl that plays dress up with Barbie is destined to be struggling with an eating disorder or her self-image, but I do believe that children should have the opportunity to use their imagination, enjoy their childhood, have fun playing indoors and outdoors as well as to learn at a young age that beauty is not determined by the outer appearance. Educating children is important and the lesson should teach that regardless of size, color or shape, true beauty is much more than skin deep.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Deb Darby wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • I had a Barbie, but I also had lots of other toys, baby dolls, roller skates, jump ropes, and what I liked most about my Barbie was her clothes. They were hand made by my Grandmother. I preferred baby dolls to Barbie; but my very favorite play was acting out the movies we got taken to (at the drive-in ;0). Many Saturday mornings were full with going house to house “casting” our movies.
      Yes, Barbie’s body is far from average. Still, I think I finally turned out alright, and some of the role play we did with her helped me set goals for myself as an adult...playing tennis, swimming, singing and dancing, cooking. I never looked like her, but don’t ever really remember wanting to. I guess I realized she was just a doll, not a real girl.
      Still, this is a good article, Dana. Body image is an important part of a young girl’s psychological development; but the REAL Barbie list was kinda funny!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Deb Darby wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • I had a Barbie, but I also had lots of other toys, baby dolls, roller skates, jump ropes, and what I liked most about my Barbie was her clothes. They were hand made by my Grandmother. I preferred baby dolls to Barbie; but my very favorite play was acting out the movies we got taken to (at the drive-in ;0). Many Saturday mornings were full with going house to house “casting” our movies.
      Yes, Barbie’s body is far from average. Still, I think I finally turned out alright, and some of the role play we did with her helped me set goals for myself as an adult...playing tennis, swimming, singing and dancing, cooking. I never looked like her, but don’t ever really remember wanting to. I guess I realized she was just a doll, not a real girl.
      Still, this is a good article, Dana. Body image is an important part of a young girl’s psychological development; but the REAL Barbie list was kinda funny!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • Allof that barbie mumbo jumbo aside....I am a barbie collector.  I have thousands of dollars worth of Barbie Dolls.  I have slacked off in the last two years but nonetheless a barbie collector I am.  I always get the Holiday Barbie without fail every year.  I missed the first two years only!!!  I have various other barbies celebrating different eras and birthdays.  I love them. They make me happy!!!  Me and barbie will both be 50 this year...we bonded!!!  LOL  

      xoxo



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • Barbie+self-image issues=BS, IMHO. I do not care what those studies say, I have never known anyone who felt inferior because they did not look like a Barbie. She is a doll and I think the majority of people get that. Now, I do take issue with all the super-skinny models because they are flesh-and-blood and selling items that our girls want.  

      The lawmaker pushing to ban Barbie-really? West Virginia doesn’t have more important problems like reeducation for coal miners, poverty & welfare issues, etc etc etc?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • One downfall I have, I take them out of the box.  I have about 6 of them never out of the box but I dont know...just too cold for me.  I will never sell them so why not enjoy them.  Im tellin you, Im a nut.  I pose them, touch them and admire them.  I love the bridal barbies and they come out in June.  I have the birthstone collection, the flower collection (some of them) and whatever else the hell collections there are.  I really had to slack off cause I have no room and could use the money for something else.  But I do love them!!!  They are so beautiful.
      xoxo



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • I had one Ken doll, and he had to play dual roles-BF and Dad.  

      Another thought just hit me-if girls are comparing themselves to Barbie, do they have low self esteem because Barbie has no orifices “down there” but we do? I think they “get” it!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Owlmaria wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • If the lawmaker in WVa wants to ban Barbie, then we must also ban all Beauty pagents! Talk about unrealistic expectations for children! Why do they watch them & then parents wonder why their girls are dieting! Children pagents do not help either. Barbie is just a toy as the others have pointed out, so what is the big deal! Doesn’t this guy have anything better to do in WVa, maybe seeing to doing away w/ lobbyist! or doing something to help w/ creating playgrounds for children or after-school programs. He sounds like the kind of politican who doesn’t have enough to do & WVa residents need a new person in his place!
      I also collect Barbie Dolls, mainly Native American & Dolls from around the World. My latest is Scottish Highlands Lass! I hope one day to have a doll from every country- to pass down to may future granddaughter. Mine have never been out of the boxes & I realize that some of the Nat. Amer. dolls are not true representations of our people but they all have a story to tell. From me to my future granddaughter!
      Just my opinion!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • yes terma...at one point, the markup was incredible for barbies.  But could you really sell yours???  I became so attached to them like they were my kids....lol...call me a crazy blonde (which really isnt far off)LMAO!!!

      xoxo



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • i have all the i love lucy barbies, never removed from their box. I love them!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Mar 9, 2009
    • Annie, hahaha!!

      My BFF managed to break several of my Barbies. And, she grew up to collect them!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Mar 10, 2009
    • Barbie is a toy .... and I think girls know this - I remember Alice having Barbie parties and they would sit round in a circle mute just combing the dolls hair over and over again - then strip them off and dress them ...

      I hated hoovering after as some tiny shoe would clatter around and child screaming at me to get it out of the dust bag ...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dana Arcuri wrote Mar 11, 2009
    • When I did a bit of research to investigate the story behind Barbie getting banned in West Virginia, I read that if Barbie truly did get banned for good in this state there is not any form of punishment or discipline for getting caught with a Barbie doll. Maybe the banning Barbie is a bit over the edge, especially if they are NOT going to even make consequences for having one. Why bother banning Barbie in the first place?

      It is a very controversial subject and I believe in educating positive body image, rather than removing a doll off of a shelf in Target, Walmart and Toys-R-Us. Would the residents of West Virginia truly stop purchasing Barbie dolls in other states or on the internet? If Jeff Eldridge banns Barbie, does this mean that Barbie books, DVD’s, fashion, sheets, pillows, dish sets and all the other Barbie items get banned, too? Will Barbie become part of the black market in West Virginia?

      It reminds me of the controversial issue of gun control and individuals trying to remove guns from every household. Personally, I do not own a gun. However, taking guns off of people will NOT prevent less murders or accidents. Educating the public about gun safety and proper gun use could help save a few lives, which is more proactive.

      It will be very interesting to see what comes of the bill to ban Barbie in West Virginia. I will keep you posted!



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