Essay on Exploring Body Image Issues via the Barbie Doll

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Picture yourself as the ‘perfect’ woman. Embodying every woman’s dream. You are undeniably gorgeous, weighing in at 100 pounds, standing 6 feet tall and holding nearly 150 careers (barbiemedia.com). Yes, this is the beloved, ever so ‘inspirational’ childhood toy, the perfectly perfect Barbie Doll. Barbie is America’s most beloved toy, considering young girls between the ages of three and eleven own at least 10 Barbie’s throughout their childhood (‘Life in Plastic’). As creator of the Barbie Doll once said, “My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented that a woman has choices,” (Handler). However, Barbie has proved to serve the opposite effect and…show more content…
Unfortunately, it also is highly unattainable and instills unrealistic goals in girls’ minds. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, there are up to 24 million people suffering from eating disorders and 86% of those are under the age of 20 (anad.org). That being said, negative adverse effects are often the results of our world placing the upmost importance on body image. At Radboud University, Doeschka Anschutz and Rutger Engels conducted an experiment designed to test the effects of playing with thin dolls on body image and food intake in 6-10 year old girls. After splitting the girls into three different groups where they either played with a thin doll, an average sized doll or a slightly oversized doll, as seen in figure one, the results yielded that indeed there were significant differences between the girls’ body image and food intake which was completely dependent on which doll they played with (Anschutz, Engels 625). For example, a girl that played with the thinnest doll, the Barbie Doll, consumed the least amount of food following playtime when girls that played with either the average sized doll or even slightly larger doll consumed significantly more food. This experiment explicitly highlights the unknown dangers associated with playing with Barbie Dolls at a young age. Immediately the doll caused young girls to see themselves as ‘too big’ or

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