Life-size Barbie Brings Up The Issue Of Body Image

Posted by April 19, 2011 4:30 pm

The morning shows are known for addressing controversial topics, but lately they have been pretty spot on with our body and beauty issues. On the Today show yesterday morning Galia Slayen, a girl who struggled with Anorexia as a child, showcased her life-size Barbie doll, measured out to human proportions. Galia chose to display this doll at her college during National Eating Disorder Awareness week, and got plenty of reactions from her classmates.

The 6 foot tall, 39 inch bust and 33 inch hips on the life-size Barbie certainly doesn’t look like the Mattel dolls that we grew up with, but that stick-thin doll (with the tiny waist we all desired) is according to Gallia, based on the National Eating Disorder website’s measurements of what Barbie should actually measure up to.

Mattel responded with a statement to the Today show that said, “Girls see female body images everywhere today and it’s critical that parents and caregivers provide perspective on what they are seeing. It’s important to remember that Barbie is a doll who stands 11.5 inches tall and weighs 7.25 ounces – she was never modeled on the proportions of a real person.”

But, should 4-year-old children who are playing with these dolls be responsible for being able to understand that concept?

Luckily, Galia said that she has learned that through all of this, “It’s about finding who you are, not about wanting to become that celebrity or this person.”

We’re glad that she’s learned that she doesn’t have to suffer to be thin but do you think Barbie dolls are harmful for kids?

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  1. Jackie says:

    That’s stupid. Barbie is not freaky like that huge one. I understand that eating disorders are bad, but there are better ways to teach about them than lying about what a 6 foot Barbie would look like.

  2. Jackson says:

    Totally agree w/Jackie, this is not a scale version of the original toy. Barbies don’t have ##### that big and the armsdont look that freakish and thin. This is folly.

  3. BD says:

    So I googled a bit…some guy actually took measurements instead of copying off of an eating disorder website. If you’re going to make a stink about it, use facts, please. His results:

    The height of the supine Barbie was measured from the bottom of her heel to the blade of a steel machinist’s square pressed against the crown of her head. She measured 11.133 inches tall. If we assume that Barbie is 5 feet 9 inches tall, then we can find her bust, waist and hip measurements simply by measuring those doll dimensions and multiplying them by 6.2, which is the number of times Barbie’s height (11.133) can be divided into her assumed height of 69 inches (5’9”). Barbie’s measurements were taken with strips of paper which were then laid flat and measured with a dial caliper. Barbie’s true bust measurement is 34.5 inches; her hips are 30.5 inches. If she were 5 feet 8 inches tall, as in the bogus Australian “study,” then her bust would be 34 inches, not 38 inches. To have a 38 inch bust, Barbie would have to be 6 feet 4 inches tall!

  4. claudia says:

    it’s clear that the life-size one looks disproportionate to the doll because Barbie’s head is giant. you can see that the student used a human-sized Barbie head from the hairstyling set, but if you scaled the actual DOLL up to be six feet tall, the head would be huge like a giant balloon. this also contributes to the doll’s body being inappropriate: doll Barbie’s entire torso is the same size as her head.

  5. KD says:

    Coming from an African-American household, the life of Barbie and Ken was tragic, especially for Barbie when the straightening-comb singed those golden locks and whether she wanted it or not, Barbie had “that much” hair, as we black folks used to say. And Black Barbie did look like a hooker. So my sisters styled themselves like Sandra Dee, Annettee, used terms like Moon Doggy, Cookie, and had to step off the side walk to let white folks pass when we went to the movie theater where we sat in the balcony to watch “The Blob.” Then we’d go home and the game would start all over again. . .eventually Barbie lost an eye, an ear to a failed piercing, and finally her head in a swimming accident. . .one thing was for sure, she couldn’t compete with a good Southern meal and you’re all crazy if you don’t think this image doesn’t have a far-reaching effect. . .just listen to the whiney, pinched, nasal voices and watch the crooked necks of true and untrue blonds as they allow themselves to be Ken-bait. . .of, untrue blonds (Asians, Blacks, Latino. . .you don’t have to be white to make Barbie right!)

  6. Kari says:

    Parents need to tell their daughters Barbie isn’t real? Good grief. Have we dumbed down that far? She’s a doll! Seriously, I knew Barbie wasn’t real and I grew up slender and athletic without thinking and worrying about looking like Barbie. My mom taught me about eating healthy foods, being active and athletic, and staying away from sugar and soda. Maybe that’s what parents need to tell their kids. And guess what? I also had Smurf dolls, but never in my time growing up wanted to be blue and wear a white hat. I knew they were dolls, and I don’t think my parents had to tell me that.
    Yes, there are magazines everywhere stating how to lose 5 lbs. It doesn’t mean it is directed at everyone. We have an over abundant obese population. The magazines write what sells. Just like the celeb rags. People buy them , so they keep writing. Don’t want or need advice on losing
    weight, don’t read it!

  7. John says:

    Not at all true. See this story about the REAL size of Barbie.

  8. Jessica says:

    The model is the thing out of porportion not the doll. I have a 43″ bust and i am only a DD. This is totally falsely shown. Ridiculous. That doesn’t mean that the measurements she came up with are fake but this “real life” figure isn’t the same as the porportions she gave. And if this was the same porportions as the doll then the doll would look as weird as this “real life” doll does…

  9. PhilG. says:

    Barbie:”Maybe I should’nt have gone with such large implants ,doctor.”

  10. Motorboatin Ken says:

    Awww yeah…….. if Barbie was that endowed, I’d be a happy, motorboatin’ Ken.

  11. fay says:

    Overlook her physical attributes and see what other products are on the market (available for under $10) that let a girl imagine something other than a mother, baby or a ###### brat? Who else but Barbie is available with so many career opportunities? She can be a cop, vet, pilot, etc. She at least lets girls think about something other than staying home and taking care of babies.

  12. Maggie Jo says:

    The point they are trying to make is that Barbie isn’t a role model. She is just a doll, girls don’t consider them selves to be pretty compared to the mass produced automatons the media air brushes for them. I’m tired of played out old beauty standards. I’m tired of tall blonds and huge breasts & tiny waists.

  13. davidcampiti says:

    But these proportions are a lie and don’t accurately reflect Barbie’s measurements.  Try this instead:

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