Self Image Wrapped In Plastic

– Now Available Essay, Research Paper

Girls can be whatever they want to be, as long as they are sexy when

they grow up. This is

the message the ever-so-popular Barbie doll has been pushing on America?s youth

since 1959.

When Barbie first hit the market, the creator, Ruth Handler, stated that she

wanted to make the

perfect role model for her children, Barbie and Ken. Parents everywhere ripped

open their wallets,

stampeded to the stores, and ate the concept up. They wanted their daughters to

be just like

Barbie Roberts. They even wanted their sons to bring her home. Today, the only

difference made

to this bizarre idea, is that the doll?s family has grown. Now Asian, Hawaiian,

African American,

Swedish, and other cultures and races of females, can share in the joys of low

self image. The

expectations the doll places on children are intangible. My family showered me

with these plastic

beauties on every special occasion. My birthday, Easter, and Christmas, I would

be found in a

corner unwrapping another years worth of expectations.

Barbie was unleashed to the world in a revealing bathing suit, wearing

makeup, and fully

accessorized. Her with ruby red lips, plucked eye brows, and cute little pony

tail became the icon

of young American girls. She had everything, knew everything, and could do

anything. She didn?t

go to school, never had a bad hair day, and had no need for ?hand me downs?.

She always had

someone to play with, and a boyfriend by her side.

We were playing with a doll that had an ideal body. We could never have

this body, and

yet we could not wait to grow up and develop the enormous breasts we would be


throughout our childhood. Her clothes wrapped snugly around her tiny waist, and

long legs,

attached with painfully arched, perfect feet. I remember asking my mother why

she didn?t have

shiny hair like Barbie. I thought she had something wrong with her. There must

have been

something wrong with the bodies, and hair of all the women in my family. They

could have chosen

to look like Barbie, I thought. It has been a proven fact that her proportions

could never humanly

be possible. If she were the actual size of a human teenage girl, she would look

quite unusual. She

would stand seven feet tall, with body measurements of 37? in bust, 20? in

waist, and 25? in hips.

Barbie would not be able to play any sports, if she could walk at all. She had

no stomach or

buttocks, and left no room for body fat of any kind. Little girls to not know

these facts. I find it

alarming that Mattel, the company that mass-produces her, chose to place huge

mounds for

breasts on her chest. She is supposed to be a young teenage girl. I would

imagine that, if it were

possible for this to happen by nature, it would be very painful. They could have

saved a fortune if

they reduced the size. It must have been intended. I don?t have any doubt that

if she were

marketed in an erotic store, no one would question her being there. Robert A.

Eckert is chairman

of the board and chief executive officer of Mattel, Inc., a worldwide leader in

the design,

manufacture and marketing of family products with .5 billion in annual revenues.

He is an

American male. I wonder if this may contribute to the exploitation.

Barbie?s details changed with the times, however her expectations, and

body remained the

same. The Barbie people imagine today has long flowing blonde hair and blue

eyes. She is always

happy, even though her back must still be breaking due to her large bust. I

wonder if the

stereotypical ideal woman in America came from this doll?s image. I have never

seen Debbie the

Disabled doll, or Fay the Fat bellied doll. If you researched different races in

the world, you would

notice that all races have different bone structures, and hair types. For one

example, the placement

of the eyes, and broadness of the nose are different between Caucasoid humans

and African

humans. In the Barbie line, all the dolls have the same features, except for

color. This example

may add to distortions in the self image of African girls who play with the

African Barbie dolls.

I have noticed that all women in my life suffer from a lower self image

than men. We

were all raised with the media, dolls, and parents who placed high expectations

on our lives. We

strive to look beautiful by considering breast implants, liposuction, and

spending large amounts of

money on form enhancing wardrobes. My concern is the acceptance her figure is

receiving, even

in present times. Barbie did not create this problem, but she is one of the only

long standing

reminders today.


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