I was a Barbie girl. I did not really play with dolls, or horses (except My Little Pony), or cars, or trains. I played with Barbies. I had about 12 of them (not sure if that is normal or not). I had a light pink Barbie corvette, a townhouse with an elevator that went up and down with a string pulley (it was the 80’s). I had the Barbie salon where you could use wash their hair, and color it using special “markers” that washed out later. They do not tell you that you can color Barbie’s hair, but you should never cut it (Barbie will never look the same again). I had exercise Barbie, ballroom Barbie, wedding Barbie and wedding Ken, I had bikini Barbie (she got the haircut), and a slew of others I do not remember. All of these were gifts given over many birthdays, and they were dearly loved.
I was reminded of my Barbie memories after a conversation at work yesterday that originated from superheros dimensions to Barbie dimensions. We then found the following article about if Barbie was life-size what would she actually look like. (For those of you that do not click the link you are missing out, it is quite shocking). The article explains that Barbie would be 5 foot 9 inches, weight 110 pounds, wear a size 3 shoe, a 39″ bust, 18″ waist, and 33″ hips. Gulp. So if you still have not clicked the link, do so now.
What is funny about my experience with Barbies (for those of you with young little girls) is I think playing with them got a lot of the girly stuff out of my system. I have a lot of friends that purposely ban Barbie and other toys that do not lead to positive images of women. Then those are the only toys they want. I do not know what I’ll do when I have kids. There is a part of me that thinks that I will feel the same way, that it will just be a yuck feeling I will have about any toys that do not lead to a positive, strong view of women. Having said all that, I loved playing with my Barbies and would beg my sister to play with me. Now I am starting to think that being all girly when I was young has meant I am not as girly now. So maybe it was not such a bad thing.
Regardless of if I got it out of my system, did I know at that age that Barbie was not anatomically correct? Probably not. However, I do think Mattel should fix Barbie so that she is more normal/true to real woman size. Convincing Mattel should not be that hard right? Ha.
Have a great weekend! Hope the sun is shining..
Hi. I have seen this post before, and others with the same picture. It took me a while to realise that actually, the scaled-up Barbie on the picture does not look anything like a Barbie. If based on Barbie`s measurements, shouldn’t she, er, look like a big Barbie? She looks like a caricature of a Barbie. From what I gather, the lady who made the model feels that Barbie is part of a world view that resulted in her eating disorder, and although I respect her right to find her way through this by whatever methods she finds helpful, this hardly means that her model is accurate or dispassionate. It may be that she used the statistics you quote to make the model, and I have seen several variations on these. I think it depends how you scale Barbie up. If you were to blow Barbie up to life-size just as she is, why would you make her 5 foot 9? (or 6 foot 4, which is the other common real-life height quoted). I think that these statistics may be based on scaling her head up to about the size of a real-life skull and making the rest of her follow this, the problem being that Barbies head-size is clearly not proportionate to her body, being larger than a human’s would be to allow the manufacturers to get the right amount of detail on (and this is something that nearly all doll makers do). I recently read a post by somebody who said that based on measurements he had done himself, at 5 foot 9, Barbie would have a bust of 34.5 and hips measuring 30.5, maybe a bit idealistic but certainly not out of the realms of possibility. I suppose the only way to be sure is to work it out oneself …. anyway, sorry for the length of this comment, its a topic that really interests me. Best wishes 🙂
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Thanks for this post. It would be great if Mattel fixed Barbie – of course, that’s only one tiny thing that would change in a culture (world?) obsessed with rules about women’s bodies, beauty, and sex-appeal. Still, I think it’s about balance. My oldest daughter didn’t care much about Barbie but my younger one did. She played with them for hours on end because she needed an outlet for her imagination, which has turned into acting. As long as I occasionally reminded her that she was (still is) beautiful exactly as she was, then I felt like I was letting her have her outlet and fun, without being too scarred in the process.
I can totally relate. I think I played because I was making up make believe worlds. Separate from the books I read, Barbie allowed to create on my own. I also liked dressing them, or you know the unknown hair cut (who knew their hair wouldn’t grow back)! As long as there is a bit of reality (you know that women have flat feet, etc) then I think it is okay. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!