I want to start by thanking all of you who liked my short story last week on WordPress. The topic was very sensitive to me so it means so much that my words were able to reach you and touch you in some way and I hope I can continue doing that throughout my limited time here.
As many of you may have heard, through Facebook, twitter, or just by watching the news, Barbie, a longtime icon for children everywhere, is getting a little bit more diverse. What do I mean? Mattel, the company behind the plastic idol, has recently unveiled three new “sizes” for Barbie, those being petite, curvy, and tall as well as new hairstyles and facial structures. For today’s topic I will be focusing more on the sizes than anything else.
Many people believe that Mattel only accepted this change because their sales are plummeting at an extreme rate, which may be true. The other view one can take is that Mattel finally realized that not one size fits all and that women around the country should not be held to the unrealistic standards that Barbie was unknowingly putting out.
Being a boy, I never really played with Barbie’s, other than the occasional “what’s this thing I pulled from my sister’s room?” I grew up I saw many pictures indicating the effect of Barbie on people, pictures such as this…
As one can clearly see, being Barbie is impossible without plastic surgery, gaining an eating disorder, and essentially trading your life away. Unfortunately there are some people who do feel the need, whether due to their obsession with “perfection” or their addiction to plastic surgery, to “become Barbie” (or in many cases, Ken)
An unhealthy hobby, physically changing the way your body looks over and over again, but a hobby nonetheless.
So what are people who, say don’t have 150,000 dollars plus to spend on surgery and repeated facelifts and botox, supposed to do if they want to get that slim Barbie (or Ken) figure? This figure that has, since childhood, been engrained into our mind as “beauty”. This figure that, although unattainable, becomes a subconscious goal to many young women (and men). To many the only solution is to starve yourself until you can gets to that special, impossible size.
Kids play with Barbie, see the world’s definition of beauty, and grow up wanting to be like her. A vicious cycle that our society found impossible to escape from. How could we ever escape when the toys we buy for our kids give them unrealistic standards for themselves?
Thankfully, Mattel has decided to step in and change the course of this next generation, or at least do their part. With the new sizes of Barbie kids will be able to see themselves in the doll that they play with and “perfection” can be what they see in themselves. With the tall doll, for example, taller girls or boys can be comfortable with their size knowing that Barbie too is considerably taller than her friends. The curvy doll, for example, allows children too see themselves in their toy. This could lead to the child thinking that “if Barbie can be comfortable with her weight, so can I” which is a belief I think we all need to live by.
I understand that perhaps this one thing will not rid the next generation of eating disorders. I am even aware that this may not make a difference in society’s view of “beauty”, but I do know that any and every effort to help people see the beauty in themselves is a positive effort and one that I support. So here’s to you, petite Barbie, curvy Barbie, and tall Barbie for allowing people to see them beauty that everyone has. And a good note to Mattel as well and not making everybody fit into a one-size fits all doll.
Tell me what you think! Will making different size dolls would help children learn the value of loving themselves? Let me know in the comments section!
Thank you and I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and remember to love yourself and always respond!
P.S. I realize I have been writing a lot about eating disorders recently. This is not something I apologize for as this topic is very near and dear to my heart.