On March 5th, Huffington Post released an article about a crowd-funded campaign regarding the discussions and redesigns of the Barbie Doll, “Lammily” (Nickolay Lamm). After reading YET another article regarding the one-of-many redesigns of the Barbie doll, I couldn’t help but feel aggitated. We get it. Barbie was not designed with realistic proportions of the female body. It has been proven that her proportions are naturally unrealistic. But Barbie is not the enemy in this or in any future generation.Unfortunately, we, as a society, are obsessed with the past (do we need to be reminded of Occupy New York, Boston, Chicago, Portland, Philadelphia…)
The fact that this topic is still up for discussion is just one example of how out of touch humans are with reality… and technology. Dolls are literally the last thing that I think of when the topic of body image is brought up.
I have been witness to a 10 year old girl fawning over photo threads of “Thinspiration”, photos of “models” and real models who they view as “having the perfect body” - while in most cases, these woman (and men) were born with the genetic make up that allowed them to be as skinny as they are. But try explaining that to a prepubescent girl. I have watched a 12 year old girl obsess over photo after photo of “thigh gaps” [for those who don’t know, the thigh gap tag on Tumblr should explain]. Each created fake online personas and profiles with tag lines and made-up names to obsess in private with others while their identities are never revealed. I would say that this is all harmless, but to a child or teenager with little to no-self esteem in regards to body image…
Technology has created great ways to stay connected with one another, with strangers and with friends, but with ramifications. Tumblr, for instance, is a great forum to share images, personal work and information over a large population of users. As is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Ask.FM… and the 1409715 other social media sites that haven’t even begun to surface on the adult radar (or my radar) - all great social outlets with, in some cases, damaging consequences. Parents of this generation have no idea what pressures their children are undergoing, just as their parents had no idea.
Now, let me clarify. Social media is not to blame for any of this, but neither is Barbie. The core issue is not going to be resolved by “redesigning” Barbie’s measurements, or by regulating websites, for that matter. The main concern of mine is that Barbie should be the LEAST of parents (societies, etc.) worries, and the fact that this is still a conversation we are having is absurd. The bubble of the unrealistic expectations, of this perfect world where children are comfortable with themselves because of a doll, needs to be popped. It is not going to be effected by the “Normal” Barbieor “What Barbie Looks Like Without Make-up”. Barbie is an icon of the past that has little to no relevance in today’s world. ‘Til the next rant.