Barbie girl in a human world: not fantastic because it’s plastic
By HANNAH PARKER
“Be anything, do everything,” a slogan adopted by Barbie that encourages young girls to go out and achieve their dreams, but only in the form of ‘Barbie’ the “sexed-up” play doll as a role model. For, as seen in Barbie’s recent commercial, the company has made a leap forward in attempting to be a real role model for young girls, in displaying the “be anything, do everything” slogan.
The commercial entitled ‘Imagine The Possibilities” shows young girls pretending to be veterinarians and professors while playing with their dolls, sending out a message that Barbie can help young girls discover who they want to be.
Although the commercial sends a positive message to young girls to follow their dreams and achieve all they want in life, Barbie’s body type has yet to be altered to fit reality. These dolls also send the message that unrealistic beauty is the standard all girls should strive for.
A toy created in 1959 as a teenage fashion doll, Barbie slowly adapted from being an innocent toy for girls to adore and play with to a common symbol of the “perfect girl.”
In 1959, however, Barbie was dressed more modestly for a young girls’ toy. But as time progressed Barbie gained makeup and lost her waist and clothing, setting a body image for teenage girls that resemble a Russian supermodel, not a 15-year-old.
From Barbie’s slim waist to her perfectly flowing hair, a girl cannot catch a break. The beauty requirements established by a Barbie doll are unrealistic for a girl, let alone an adolescent. Dolls created to be role models for young girls should include all types of girls, not just the type of girl society deems standard. This is especially important because these girls are at an age when their bodies are constantly changing, and achieving these body requirements set by Barbie is impossible.
According to Mirror Magazine in the UK, Anastasia Reskoss underwent multiple plastic surgeries to transform herself into a real life Barbie doll when she was just 17-years-old. She started with a nose job and breast implants, all paid for by her parents, and began going under the knife more and more until the surgeries became almost monthly.
“I just felt like I was never a really pretty girl and I believed I looked very pale too,” Reskoss said in the piece. “I turned to the Barbies I always loved as a kid. I just loved how tanned and perfect they were.”
Later at a boat party, Reskoss met 20-year-old Quentin Dehar, a young man also undergoing regular plastic surgeries in hopes of looking like a real like Ken doll. The two instantly fell in love and began pushing each other towards their mutual goal of looking like real life Barbie and Ken dolls.
The two changed their dietary habits completely and attended monthly surgeries, teeth whitening sessions, hair removal sessions and tanning sessions. Reskoss and Dehar even got their parents to stop calling them by their real names and start referring to them as Barbie and “Quentin and I want to start a plastic surgery revolution,” Reskoss said in the article. “Everyone can be beautiful and everyone can improve themselves with cosmetic work.”
Reskoss and Dehar are a perfect example of the negative effects caused by the unrealistic beauty standards set by Barbie. Reskoss perfectly states that “everyone can improve themselves with cosmetic work” proving that Barbie sets unnatural standards for young girls and people everywhere.
If Barbie wants to send out an inspirational message to young girls everywhere, they need to start with the appearance of their product. I suggest they try creating dolls that resemble real women with real body types that young girls can look up to, instead of dolls whose physical appearance elicit young girls to feel ashamed.