Posts Tagged ‘Barbie’

The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

December 24, 2013

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The debate over the latest push for a plus-sized Barbie is steeped in political correctness on both sides and ignores the children the toy is aimed at.

One side argues that Barbies aren’t of realistic dimension and the doll is guilty of influencing feelings of negative body image among young, impressionable girls.

The other side argue that the picture above shows an obese girl and that there is a responsibility to teach children that being overweight is not the ideal from a health standpoint.

My view is that Barbie has already had many decades of reproducing the same type of doll. It’s too late for the company to suddenly become inclusive. So your going to have one overweight doll amongst thousands of stick figures? That’s a great way to make someone overweight feel good, put them in a room crowded with models!

If they release the Barbie pictured above it will be the source of more bullying because one can’t help comparing it against every other Barbie ever produced. Even the marketing pitch shows the comparison.

Let’s take the responsibility of making our children body confident out of the hands of Mattel and lets own this problem and do something about it.

1. We need to tell our children that they are wonderful people, regardless of their size. If you think an overweight girl is unhealthy, try an overweight girl racked with guilt and self loathing.

2. Let’s not put such an emphasis on looks and instead replace the focus with more important attributes like kindness, empathy, loyalty and integrity.

3. Let’s help our young find their talents and show them how they can use their unique abilities to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Plus sized Barbie is a meaningless, insincere and tokenistic gesture at a time when we need to show our kids that they really matter!

 

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Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

Click on the link to read The Call to Stop Telling Your Children they are Beautiful

 

The Bid to Make Barbie Bald

January 13, 2012

I am not a big fan of Barbie. However, I think the initiative to get Mattel to include a cancer suffering “Bald Barbie” has plenty of merit:

Most kids in America recognize Barbie immediately.

She’s tall, she’s thin, and she’s…bald?

Rebecca Sypin is one of the people behind this Facebook campaign urging Mattel to create a bald Barbie, one she says children battling cancer and other diseases that cause hair loss can relate to.

“When you go to the supermarket, sometimes you have little kids who’ve never seen it before, staring, and I think it would make it much more mainstream and more normal for kids to see that,” said Sypin.

Sypin knows about children and cancer all too well. Her daughter, Kin Inich, is battling leukemia.

“Everybody else has hair, even a boy has hair and you don’t. So it would make you feel like you’re Barbie, you would be the glamorous girl with the big lifestyle and everything now,” said Kin.

The Beautiful and Bald Barbie Facebook page has been up and running for less than a month, and already has more than 65,000 friends.

But despite that support, Sypin says the bald Barbie idea has gotten a cool reception from Mattel, saying that the company has told her they do not take unsolicited Barbie doll suggestions from outside sources.

A bald Barbie may still be a possibility though. Mattel released a written statement Thursday saying the company is honored that so many people are looking to Barbie as the face of such an important cause.

“We receive hundreds of passionate requests for various dolls to be added to our collection,” the statement reads. “We take all of them seriously and are constantly exploring new and different dolls to be added to our line.”

Let’s face it. The reason that Mattel seem less than enthusiastic about the idea, is that it would almost certainly make a loss. That, and the fact that the Barbie name is synonymous with looks and dimensions that lack realism and are deliberately out of proportion. A doll that humanises the Barbie name and presents her as flawed and vulnerable is not what they are setting out to do.

I will be watching closely to see whether or not Mattel has the conviction to bypass profits for this extremely noteworthy cause. If they don’t, it will only serve to reaffirm my current dislike of the product.

Sparing Young Children the Affliction of Body Image

July 31, 2011

A mother not associated with my school told me of her concerns regarding her 3-year old child.  The 3-year old is much shorter than others in her age bracket and the comments about her childs’ height have started to make the child self-conscious.  The mother is worried that the stigma of being much shorter than her peers may deeply erode the child’s self-confidence.  Doctor’s have recommended starting the child on growth hormones to alleviate some of the height discrepancy.  The mother is extremely dedicated and loving, and refuses to take that option as she doesn’t see it in the best interests of her child.

This example highlights a problem that keeps getting bigger and more difficult to deal with.  Why are young children more self-conscious about their body now than ever before?  What are we doing about it?

It seems as if the problem is getting worse and we are becoming less able to respond to it.

Pre-teens have never been so obsessed with their looks and so insecure about their imperfections. I read an article that points to a recent study in the UK where almost 600 children below the age of 13 have been treated in hospital for eating disorders in the past three years.

Many point to the advertising industry.  They blame magazine covers and their gaunt models for creating an unrealistic perception of the average body size and type.

But isn’t advertising just a mirror of our own hopes and dreams?  If they put more meat on Barbie’s unhealthily skinny body, wouldn’t sales be adversely affected?

What bothers me is that parents face an uphill battle with empowering their children to be content with their own looks.  No matter how much time and energy they put into trying to make their children feel secure and attractive, peers and others in society tend to tear them down.

Has the problem gone too far to remedy?  Is blaming the advertisers and media really worth the trouble?  How much power do parents have in helping their children overcome societies unhealthy and unrealistic obsession with body image and beauty?


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