Be who you want to be, be B A R B I E ?

June 10, 2010

Is Barbie a good role Model?

Barbie, a fashion doll created by Mattel in 1959, became an icon. Barbie has the biggest wardrobe of any fashion doll, the most pets (about 40), the most shoes and even more. Barbie has dozens of different houses and cars, not to mention jobs. Barbie has everything she wants, an on and off boyfriend (Ken), nice mansions, beautiful cars, amazing clothes, great jobs, a perfect body, and so much more. However, because of these factors, it is evident that Barbie is not a good role model. In our society, girls come in all different shapes and sizes; we are not one plastic doll with one shape. The original Barbie doll created in 1959 had a very small waist, one that every woman dreams for but never achieves. They widened the waist in 1997; however Barbie’s body is still perfect, like the ones on TV or covers of magazines. A very small percentage of girls actually look like Barbie, and the doll can make children feel self conscious about themselves. Why is it that 16 year olds are always shown playing with the dolls on television ads, when in reality it’s 5-12 year olds who play with them? Younger children play with Barbie; therefore it is unrealistic to have such a body on a doll. Body image has become a very large issue in our society, especially with the growing rates of obesity. The creators of Barbie could make their doll a bit more realistic, and even larger waist size, normal looking legs, etc. In my opinion, that it why the Bratz dolls gained so much popularity, their bodies are much larger than the Barbie dolls. Not to mention that modern day societies Barbie has tattoos on their lower backs. Women worldwide started associating Barbie’s blonde skinny looks with what is ” beautiful”. Frankly, that deeply upsets me.

Aside from Barbie’s body, Barbie is synonymous with consumerism. Barbie has everything she wants, all the clothes, jewelry, houses, and cars a girl could dream of. But that is exactly what is wrong; children should not be raised wanting these material possessions. Mattel’s marketing strategy is to hit little children with shopping fever; getting them to want things at an even younger age. Barbie has everything, so why can’t I? As a child, when I played with Barbie’s houses or cars, I wondered why I couldn’t have the same. Is that the right message to be sending out to children? Barbie is the sign of capitalism, even within her own image. That is not the right message we should be sending to the youth. I agree with this statement in the article “… It is American in miniature- a tint parody of our pursuit of the beautiful, the material and the trivial.” Children should not value these things, instead they should be thinking about education, so that they can support themselves financially in the future.

Her on again and off again relationship with Ken is controversial. Children should not be exposed to such an unstable relationship. This is giving them the wrong impression about the values of marriage and common law.

Barbie, who is an icon, should value the more important things in life. Money does not buy you happiness. Modern day Barbie is too much, as the years go by, Barbie gets more and more revealing, promiscuous, and it overall sending the wrong message to youth.

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