It seems as though whenever the debate about body image comes up, whether it’s in the public media or a conversation between friends, Barbie always manages to wiggle her way in.
There has been a lot of talk and speculation about just where Barbie plays in the role of body image for young girls. So much so, that Barbie is seen as one of the leading causes of eating disorders in adolescence girls, with her critics pulling at every straw they could get their hands on to pull the doll of the shelves.
But finally, after years of not commenting, the designers of Barbie’s “impossible” body type are speaking out in defense over their decision to make Barbie the way she is. They said that Barbie’s body type was never created to by the ideal image, but rather, the proportions were created so that clothes could fit her best. It is a tough job to get hundreds, if not thousands, of different piece of clothing to hang perfectly off of a plastic figure that doesn’t move or bend. The designers have also made a statement saying that Barbie has multiple body types, all of which have been created to work the best with the chosen outfits of the Barbie genre.
“Culmone explains that the doll’s “body was never designed to be realistic. She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress. And she’s had many bodies over the years, ones that are poseable, ones that are cut for princess cuts, ones that are more realistic.”
As a young woman, whose toy of choice as a child was always Barbie, I would like to back up a quote from an article published in the Refinery29.
“To little girls, they are putting themselves in that doll anyway. You have to remember that girls’ perceptions are so different than grown-ups’ perceptions about what real is and what real isn’t, and what the influences are.”
This quote got some backlash from the public, saying that it is not true and that the person should not be able to speak for young girls. Well, as much as I would like to call myself a full grown adult, I am still closer to the age group of young girls probably any of these officials. When I was a young girl, I never inspired to be like my Barbie, I simply played with them, making my own clothes for them and giving them questionable haircuts. Personally, the opinion that I gained about what a body should look like was never from Barbie, or even models, but from my own interactions with people, rather my loving grandmother or the boy that used to bully me.
I truly believe that those who claim that EVERYTHING in life is creating negative body image have created the negative body image epidemic that we are living in. Try and think back to when you were a little girl, more or less likely you were a happy and innocent child, but then you get told that it’s bad to look at models, play with Barbie, and read fashion magazine all because these thing can put you at risk of developing negative body image. Now, as a child, you are thrust into a world of what is labeled as good and bad, good body image and bad body image. This now puts thoughts into children’s minds about what body image is, when without it, they would be playing with their Barbies like it was no one’s business.