This article was published with the permission of the author, Heena Kazi. You can access her blog here.
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Young girls are often given Barbie dolls at a young age as an innocent gift. However, loving parents do not realize the detrimental repercussions of the popular toy, and have remained oblivious to the harmful effects that resulted because of Barbie’s influence over numerous generations. Barbie has been considered a role model for girls ever since her creation in 1959; for roughly five decades, young girls all over the world idolized Barbie. With golden blonde hair, blue eyes, and breasts that are larger than life, Barbie successfully tainted the self-perception of young girls by diminishing their outlook on beauty.
Approximately half a billion dolls have sold since Barbie’s creation in over one hundred and forty different countries. Due to the doll’s vast popularity, it is nearly impossible to find a child immune from Barbie’s charm; because of this, the majority of girls wish to possess all of the doll’s characteristics; no one is free from Barbie’s inescapable sphere of influence. Dark-haired and dark-eyed girls are devastated because they do not live up to the standards created by Barbie’s monopoly. Barbie has manipulated society’s perspective, and girls are forced to imitate the toy’s appearance to be accepted. The doll’s immense impact over the female (and male) population has led millions of people to believe that a voluminous bust and a miniscule waist are the main components of a beautiful woman.
Apparently, Barbie represents the epitome of beauty and perfection; women all over the world struggle to become flawless like the doll. Many women have a dwindling self-esteem, while others feel worthless and constantly insecure because they cannot live up to society’s expectations. These emotional and mental effects lead to other harmful physical consequences. The lesser affected women dye their hair and buy contact lenses, while some go through extreme measures to mirror Barbie’s appearance by spending thousands of dollars on surgical enhancements such as liposuction and breast implants. Others, particularly teenagers, starve themselves to the point of death in order to attain a twenty-one inch waist.
Barbie’s popularity led many girls to believe that in order to be beautiful, one must have blue eyes, blonde hair, and unbelievably disproportionate measurements. The doll’s domination over the past fifty years has been relatively unchallenged, and because of this, Barbie has played a major role in eating disorders and insecurity among women and teenagers. Despite the fact that some may see Barbie as a harmless toy, the numbers of anorexic and bulimic females trying to emulate Barbie’s physique are overwhelming, thus, making Barbie a disease against the emotional and physical health of women.