The Barbie doll syndrome: a 21st-century epidemic. How could a doll created in the late 50s become an issue nowadays?
Barbie, fashion doll manufactured by the American toy company Mattel, Inc., has been a distinctive figure in the toy fashion doll market for over half a century.
A harmless toy that has had a great impact on children has brought upon us a new outbreak. Barbie dolls were intended to entertain girls with their accessories, countless and diverse professions, friends and lifestyle. ‘
But instead, the Barbie doll syndrome was born. Although through time, Barbie has conveyed feminist ideologies such as female independence, it has also faced controversy.
The doll introduced in 1965 had a scale set to 110 lbs and a weight loss booklet. How to be curvy like her? How to have a slimmer waist? How to have long, blonde hair? Girls are now obsessed with achieving Barbie’s curvy body, forgetting that a having the same body as hers is unrealistic and impractical.
The Barbie syndrome doesn’t only apply to pre-teens and adolescent females, but to everyone. All girls are exposed to it.
A short understanding of what the Barbie doll syndrome causes
Girls are unguarded when it comes to being exposed to unnoticed dangers of toys. Dolls that have the same curvy, tight waists create an image in girls’ heads that perfect bodies should have the same appearance.
What is the Barbie doll syndrome? It is an obsessive phenomenon in which girls long to acquire the same body as a Barbie doll, an unrealistic, unhealthy and a nonexistent appearance.
When their desire becomes an extreme case, it leads to having low self-esteem, having unhealthy eating habits, suffering with weight loss and interfering with normal adjustment within society.
The drive of having a body like a Barbie doll results in being frustrated with their self-image as it is almost impossible to attain such curvy body proportions and beauty standards.
This syndrome is closely related to BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder), which is a mental disorder characterized with the addiction of changing their appearance as they are thought to be extremely defective.
What are Barbie’s measurements?
- Bust: D cup
- Waist: 45 cms
- Hips: 83 cms
- Height: 175 cms
- Weight: 50 kgs
How realistic do these numbers seem to you? Barbie is deemed to have the perfect body. Her figure is slender, curvy, and has a smile that’s worth a thousand sun.
She’s also a toy. Merely, a doll. Experts have calculated that if Barbie was real, she wouldn’t be able to even stand! Now, how can you imagine yourself not being able to stand, bend your knees and elbows in order to become like a Barbie doll?
How does the Barbie doll syndrome affect girls? How are girls affected by a doll’s curvy body? What does the Barbie brand do to stop girls from developing unhealthy habits?
The first and foremost sign of the Barbie doll syndrome is when girls start having eating disorders. Most girls with eating disorders are aged 12-35, indicating that the syndrome can affect from pre-teens to fully grown women.
The Barbie brand is not in safe space when it comes to facing backlashes. Critics have voiced their opinions on the doll’s promotion of unrealistic body proportions and how girls start having tendencies in acquiring nonexistent curvy figures.
Almost all American girls have owned a Barbie doll at some point. The syndrome starts growing roots in young girls’ at a very young age and later shows effects of its dangers. Playing with dolls becomes an obsession to become like a doll. When girls become dissatisfied with their body image, unhealthy habits begin to emerge.
Extreme dieting at a young age interferes with their growth and later leads to depression and more eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. Experiments have been conducted to show how difficult it is to get rid of the Barbie doll syndrome.
Girls who are consumed by Barbie’s curvy figure were shown pictures of dolls with average or plus size measurements. Almost no difference was made in their self-esteem. Girls become used to seeing and playing with thin dolls that it becomes their perception of normal.
The Barbie brand’s sales have declined over the past few years because of the doll’s figure. In an era of embracing body diversity, Barbie became history.
The brand later launched new body types to their collection: curvy, tall, petite and the original Barbie shape. Although these do not immediately cure and eliminate the Barbie doll syndrome, but it is a step towards lessening such cases that will promote body diversity.
Notorious cases of the Barbie doll syndrome have been noted in the media. Many girls have gone through plastic surgery to have the same curvy figure as the doll.
Ukrainian model and entertainer Valeria Lukyanova is one of the most famous people resembling a Barbie doll. She first gained a following on the internet after posting pictures of herself. She was first accused of photoshopping herself to look like a Barbie doll, but in reality, she uses makeup and contact lenses.
Regarding her body, the Ukrainian model said breast augmentation was the only plastic surgery she had, the rest of her body is slim because of her exercise routine. She has also been accused of having her ribs removed for acquiring a smaller waist.
Another example is Sarah Burge. Her case is infamous not only because she’s a Barbie doll look-alike, but because she enforces the practice on her daughters, with over $20.000 worth of vouchers for future breast implants and liposuction and her 15-year-old being the youngest person on record for undergoing Botox.
The Barbie doll syndrome not only affects girls but also boys
The Ken doll syndrome. The Ken doll may not have a curvy body like Barbie, but it does have a charming and attractive appearance enough for men to want to look like it.
Dubbed as the “Human Ken Doll”, Rodrigo is known to have spent more than £373,000 on plastic surgery. He has undergone more than 10 nose jobs, a butt lift, silicone chest implants, eight-pack abs and hair implants.
In total, 51 plastic surgeries and 103 cosmetic procedures. Another human Ken doll is Justin Jedlica, who has undergone around 190 cosmetic surgeries including rhinoplasties, chest implants, shoulder implants, bicep implants, cheek augmentations and procedures you didn’t know even existed!
What we all should keep in mind is that we are real, living humans with real body parts and realistic body proportions. Barbie dolls are toys, plastic.
Humans aren’t programmed to look like thin figures that are man-made. Embrace your healthy, natural figure whether it’s average, plus-size or if it naturally resembles a Barbie doll. Do not let the Barbie doll syndrome brainwash you. You are real!
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