Come on Barbie, show kids a realistic body
After years of criticism aimed toward the iconic Barbie doll’s unrealistic size and image, Mattel has released a new line of dolls that represent women of different sizes and cultural backgrounds.
These dolls now come in three new body types: curvy, petite and tall. They also have varying skin tones and flat feet instead of the traditional pointed ones that were shaped for high-heels.
Barbie is notorious for her bleached blonde hair, large breasts and perfect curves, which many argue give children unrealistic expectations when it comes to their appearance.
“Kids see images of sexualized women everywhere in the media already, and I think it would benefit their self-esteem to have toys that are actually true to nature,” FGCU senior Brittany Bancroft said.
Women are constantly pressured by society to strive for the “perfect” body and often become obsessed with dieting in the process.
For some adolescent women, this situation becomes even more serious. According to The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, teens and young adults between the ages of 12 and 26 make up 95 percent of those who have eating disorders.
While pop culture may be partly to blame for instilling these expectations of being a certain shape or color in children, it is likely that toys similar to Bratz dolls and the original Barbie have impacted these kids to idolize such an appearance from a young age.
Although the idea behind the Barbie movement is inspiring, we have to question if other influences from raising our children are affecting this behavior to obsess over image. Children could pick up certain behavioral qualities from the relationships they witness as they grow older or develop tendencies from what they see on television or social media. In order to really change the world’s view on the perception of beauty, we must do more than add a little plastic to the waist of a doll.
Since 2014, toymakers at Mattel have been perfecting the new doll, hoping this transformation will inspire boys and girls to gain a more realistic worldview on body image and diversity.
Ideally, the new Barbies will promote higher self-esteem among young women and pressure other toy companies to create more realistic and appropriate dolls.
These 23 new types of dolls will be available for purchase on March 1.