Barbie Research Paper

Decent Essays
In 1945, Ruth and Eliott Handler founded Mattel – one of Americas leading manufacturing companies of today. The idea for the Barbie doll was conceived when Ruth watched her daughter play with adult paper dolls. She noticed the importance of being able to change the doll's clothes, and decided to create a three-dimensional fashion doll, naming her Barbie after Barbara (her daughter). At the time, the toy market was dominated by baby dolls and toddler dolls. Barbie was a new conception that became a worldwide hit. Since her debut in 1959, Barbie has remained one of the most popular toys of all time. There are two Barbie's sold every second, and more than one billion dolls have been sold around the world (Maine, 2000, cited in
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In defense of Barbie's body shape, Mattel stated that she looks fuller with all her thick clothing, thus they made her waist so thin (McDonough, 2010). Fact still remains that the doll is promoting an unattainable ideal that can affect girls self-esteem negatively. Girls in Western societies usually have their first Barbie by age 3, and possesses seven troughout their childhood (Maine, 2000, cited in Slayen, 2011). Growing up with Barbie and not having any physical recemblance to her could result in disrupted eating behaviors. From a very early age, girls are having concerns about their food intake and weight: reportedly 46 % of nine to eleven year-olds are occasionally dieting (Gustafson- Larson & Terry, 1992, cited in National Eating Disorder Association, 2005).

Many studies have shown a significant correlation between early exposure to Barbie dolls and body dissatisfaction. Dittmar, H., Halliwell, H., & Ive, S. (2006, cited in Munger, 2006) examined this by creating three different books for girls. The first one contained pictures of Barbie, the second one featured an Emme doll – a curvier, more realistic fashion doll by Tonner® (Mendelsohn, 2002), and the last book had only pictures of clothes and no dolls. The books were then showed to 162 randomly
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