Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Get-Real Barbie

*Note: In college, I took a class that was called "Big Fat Lies". It was basically a class that dealt with women's body issues surrounding weight, and it was fascinating. We saw this then, but it had slipped my mind until I saw it again recently, and I thought I'd share. This post wasn't necessarily meant to start a debate about whether or not our kids should have Barbies, but I think this is really interesting info for all women (and men) to have, especially parents.

Keeping the same proportions, this is what Barbie would look like blown up to human size. 

• There are two Barbie dolls sold every second in the world.
• The target market for Barbie doll sales is young girls ages 3-12 years of age.
• A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.
• Over a billion dollars worth of Barbie dolls and accessories were sold in 1993, making this doll big business and one of the top 10 toys sold.
• If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9″ tall, have a 39″ bust, an 18″ waist, 33″ hips and a size 3 shoe.
• Barbie calls this a “full figure” and likes her weight at 110 lbs.
• At 5’9″ tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.
• If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.

You can find the PDF fact sheet from the National Eating Disorders Association about Barbie {here}


  1. Wow, that barbie just looks.....freaky. I've heard these statistics before and I wholeheartedly agree that they just prove how dumb Matel is.

    Although I will say, as a female constantly worried about my weight and body, I'd have to sheepishly admit barbie had very little to do with that. I think TV, magazine covers and Britney Spears dancing around in a barely there sequence body suit had me wondering if I weighed too much. But great insight!

  2. Those stats are terribly sad. I also agree with PP about other media being what is more impactful on girls/women, but Barbie certainly doesn't help. The pressure that girls/women experience about their physical appearance is terrible.

    The other thing I find interesting is, usually skinny people (like TV personalities and such) have GIANT heads that help make their bodies look tiny. Or... maybe their bodies are so tiny their heads look huge. Either way, I'm surprised that Barbie's head is so small.

  3. I may be in the minority but I loved playing with barbies when I was a kid and have all of mine saved away for my future little girls, should I have any. For me personally, barbie never had any affect on what I thought about my body or wanting to look like her. Frankly the clothes and shoes looked great and that was where the fun was for me. "accessorizing". I think sports had a lot more to do with shaping my body image than anything else.

  4. Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but if there truly is no correlation between Barbies and body image, why do you think Mattel has declined to re-proportion Barbie more realistically?

  5. Now I know why my own mother loathed Barbies!

    It's scary how we infect our girls so very, very young!

  6. ...and that is why my mother never let me own a Barbie!

  7. Love this post. Great picture, too, lol!

  8. Ugh, I saw this on the Today show and my jaw was on the ground when I saw what Barbie would really look like. It's gross and freaky.

    I've had body issues my whole life, and while I can't specifically target the source of them, it's very possible that Barbie had a role in that from a early age when I owned tons of them.... really, who knows where it came from, but I agree with Brittany -- it really is sad how we can infect our kids so early in life without even realizing it.

  9. Yikes! Small head, much? I've always heard those facts but never seen the pic-that's bananas!

  10. I LOVED Barbies as a little girl! If I had a free moment I was playing with my Barbies. But I never expected my body to look like Barbie. I also think that I have a healthy body image, which I can thank my mother for. If I have any daughters I will let them play with Barbies, but I will also explain to them that Barbie is a doll & that real women don't look like that.

  11. I am curious what my body would look like if I was magnified as many times as Barbie is in that picture! HA!


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