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BARBIE vs Average Girl

How Do They Compare?

By Amine OubihPublished about a month ago 4 min read
BARBIE vs Average Girl
Photo by Elena Mishlanova on Unsplash

Barbie undoubtedly has been the main agitator for cultural issues since its creation. Comments about her appearance and the impact that she might be having on her little fans were not taken lightly and brought upon her a lot of criticism. Detractors have labeled her a bimbo who is tutored in mathematics, a lepus angel with “salacious poses and sizeable boobs” and, most defamatory, a role-model who is pushing self-starvation for the young women. Barbie is, apparently, plagued by the most evincing critics in her dispute regarding the body image, believing in the unhealthy standards. Besides such critics, Barbie has been unstoppable and stand out as a billions-dollar brand as the symbol of female power over the years.

In 1959, Mattel's Ruth Handler designed Barbie from the Lilli doll, a German figure that was then turned into a drawing before becoming a sexy toy for men. The making of Barbie dolls by Handler and co-founder through Mattel, the first manufacturer of Barbie doll, tended to be more family personalized compare to the previous type, which featured overt sexuality, but it could not let go of glamorous aspects. Since her rise, Barbie has been modernized from a novelty to a multi-faceted figure, representing roles from surgeon to professional athlete, rock star, and astronaut.

From the onset there was an immediate upsurge in the number of dolls sold, with Mattel managing to record a sale of 350,000 dolls within the first twelve months of production . Infact, for many years, sketching Barbie or dressing it while listening to stories of successful Barbie's journeys around the world, have been the never-forgotten memories of kids in about 150 countries of existence. Though there will be times Barbie has a dip in sales, such as the slump in the initial months of the 2010s, it remains a well-investing product line, with the revenue generated estimated at billions of dollars every year.

The critics continues by talking about Barbie's body that is out of proportion. Imagining Barbie as a real person, she would stand at 5 feet and 9 inches, have a 18-inch waist and 36-inch bust, the parameters which hardly can be get naturally. Criticism is that this layer of presentation can give birth to body dysmorphic confusion in the young girls. Disease is the likely result of a real live woman with thia As an illustrative study conducted at (?) university showed, a woman with Barbie's proportions faces enduring health conditions, where, for example,enses would be impossible for her because of her low body fatness.

This controversy fueled Mattel to create various alternatives of the iconic doll in terms of skin colour, body size and ability level amongst others. In 2016, they unleashed dolls, that been made for ladies with different shades of skin, eye colors and hairstyles, on the market. From 2021, the line of products had grown to have 22 types of skin color, 94 colors of hair, 13 types of eye color, and five body types. In order to provide more options, it developed dolls with disabilities too, such as Barbie in the wheelchair and one with a prosthesis leg.

Leaving aside various opinions, overall, Barbie has been received with different modalities among cultures. In the Middle East she was barred in Saudi Arabia as a symbol of Western decadence and in Iran as she used to go against the country’s moral values. Unlike Western criticism, which is concerned over homogeneity and maintaining unhealthy beauty norms, critics from the GCC emphasize on Arabization of western models, using their local context as a point of comparison.

Despite attempts to diversify the Barbie line, the core criticism remains: Despite Barbie’s proportions and what she stands for remaining unattainable, the doll’s awesomeness never ceases to amaze younger generations day in day out. The findings of the research also reveal that despite the appearance of a new body type, the majority of children in different stages still prefer the older slimmer Barbie, suggesting that beauty perception across generations is subject to cultural socialization.

Mattel, on his part, has made progress towards diversifying, but yet, the gaps are visible. There is not a fat Barbie or a doll that is fat enough for her to represent the average body size of many women internationally. This omission brings to light questions regarding Mattel’s dedication to real inclusiveness and their priority of keeping the profitability or pursuing profit.

Even those problems, Barbie is successful and cannot be ignored. While the efficacy of Mattel’s approach, though reflecting some criticism, is however commercially beneficial. Barbie remains an outstanding and liberating icon in the toy world, although contended by some.

Lastly, Barbie's story of a German doll influenced by the sex play thing, to an icon of the infinite prospects, tells the story of the ever changing attitudes of the society towards beauty, success, and inclusiveness. Despite efforts by Mattel to deal with criticism, the problem of how to create the Barbie that is truly representative and acceptable for everyone still remains, however. The argument over the diamond remains as society’s expectations are in constant change.


About the Creator

Amine Oubih

🌟Amine Oubih🌟

📝 Writer | 🎨 Creative | 🌍 Explorer

Hello,I am a traveler and writer. Whether It's Real Or Fiction, I always find something interesting to write about, and I use this content to spark the desire to learn more in readers.

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    Amine OubihWritten by Amine Oubih

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