The Barbie Effect

Barbie has it all. Every career imaginable and what women perceive to be the perfect body. In real life this could transfer into bankruptcy, low self-esteem and materialistic behavior. There is much controversy surrounding Barbie and whether she has an effect on young girls’ self esteem. There have been studies on both sides of the issue with no clear definitive answer. Barbie was a sensation almost from the moment she hit the shelves, promoting and quickly spreading the idea of materialism and superficiality among young girls.
Barbie has lots of clothes, cars, the dream house and even her own credit cards. She is extremely thin and good-looking, fashionable, she has perfect blonde hair. We all know “blondes have more fun”. Barbie clearly promotes materialism and portrays this lifestyle as being fulfilling, which gives children a false sense of what life is, and an empty goal for them to pursue. Body image distortion is created, as the majority of women cannot achieve Barbie’s proportions. . Look instead at Ken, Barbie’s long time boyfriend. When researchers at the University of South Australia scaled up Mr.
Barbie to life-size proportions, they concluded that the chances of a man having his body shape are one in 50. That is a lot more achievable than the one in one hundred thousand chance a girl has of achieving Barbie’s dimensions-this defiantly gives weight to the argument that the media puts unrealistic expectations and pressures on women. (Wintermann) Magazines have morphed stars onto smaller bodies, models that walk the runway are anorexic, and pictures are airbrushed making men’s expectations of women unrealistic as well as women’s expectations of themselves.

Body image is not just appearance,” said Karen Way, a licensed clinical social worker with 18 years’ experience. “Your body image has to do with your health, your various talents, how able you are to be in tune with sensations in your body. “(Way LCSW) Men are having problems as well as women just not to the same degree or level. Men trend toward steroid use, valuing strength and muscle ripped appearance over slimness. Mattel the makers of Barbie perpetuate the stereotype that boys are smarter than girls in the math and science area. Mattel introduced the irst talking Barbie and her words were” math is tough” Studies show that boys surpassed girls in math (Geary) Mattel has attempted to change this image with the Barbie I can Be website. Many people have the myth that anorexia is all about being thin. More often it has to do with control. It often begins as pressure to be perfect. Other things in your life are spinning out of control and this is something you are in charge of, thinness is just an effect. Control implies strength; strength implies simplicity, which equals perfection-perfect control.
Anorexia is an addiction and recovery is possible by finding meaning in life. One of the quotes that helped in recovery came from a book a psychiatrist gave me. The quote from is from William Ward a notorious writer. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out to another is to risk involvement To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure. But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. ? William Arthur Ward Moral development in children follows a predictable developmental path. When presented with an ethical dilemma, children under the age of eight typically judge an action as wrong or incorrect when it results in punishment or goes against the rules set forth by authority figures (Kohlberg in Dolgin2011) As children mature, they begin to consider multiple perspectives in a situation; they take into account the intentions and motives of those involved and recognizing the often-conflicting rules inherent in moral dilemmas. In other words, their moral reasoning becomes more flexible and “other” oriented.
When Children see idols such as Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton who have the Quintessential” Barbie “image not subject to the rules and standards in society that others are held to, it creates the false illusion that those who are beautiful and have money and things are worth more and have more value. Barbie throughout her 125 careers has never portrayed a real woman with other desirable qualities other than being beautiful and fashionable. One can certainly believe the media from magazines, the fashion industry and Mattel have played a huge role in the self-esteem of girls and they value they place on themselves as a person.

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