There’s a problem with my “Miss Malibu Barbie.”
Of course one of the most iconic toys in the entire world for little girls all over is Barbie. Barbie was launched in 1959 and became the figurehead of the entire Mattel corporation and labeled the “Perfect” girl. Almost every girl in the United States has one, has played with one, or forced their brothers to play with Barbie as my sisters did to me when I was little. Barbie was inspired by the German Bild Lilli Doll (the German Betty Boop), and also has conspiracy roots to Nazi propaganda, if you believe that. Despite its extreme popularity, Barbie has caused quite the controversy over the past decade or so.
Let us begin with Barbie’s body proportions, if we were to analyze her figure and make her life size she would be 5,9, around 115lbs, rounding up to a 40 inch bust, a 20 inch waist, and 30 inch hip width. To say that a woman who’s goal to look like Barbie is unrealistic- is an understatement. Barbie has been proven to have detrimental psychological effects on a child’s mind, given the fact that they see what is so called “perfection” and live their best up to that potential when in fact, they develop more of a negative attitude throughout their entire lives about their own personal appearance. This theory can also be tested by major fashion magazines for example and their influence on what is beauty within the industry.
Then Mattel came out with a black Barbie “Francie” in the 1960’s to appeal to African Americans to become more culturally diverse, however the white Barbie is still the figurehead of the corporation today. In other cultures in the Middle East in one instance, Barbies were outlawed because it was not conforming to the ideals of certain religious practices and cultures.
We are a country of many religions, cultures and ethnicities, so a question may arise, “Are we doing a disservice to our country’s youth by only promoting an image of one ‘perfect’ race?” We do not have an Asian Barbie, Indian (Eastern or American), Arab (even though I don’t know how well that one would go over) Barbie, or even a Hispanic Barbie. And we would also need to have all of these types of Barbie’s be promoted equally just as much as the original.
But then again that could cause controversy because you would also have to worry about being too stereotypical or worrying about offending anyone with the features of the doll. But concentrating on today’s youth, concern should arise with impressionable children in contact situations arise between different children of different races. If the white Barbie is more publicized than any other Barbie, white girls who want to be like Barbie may act with a sense of superiority against other girls who don’t fit the look of Barbie. This could tie in with inferiority complexes and could also be considered a structured form of institutional discrimination within the media. All starting with a little girl’s toy….