Having a Barbie sometimes can be something on your shopping list that you don’t want to skip. A new model of Barbie dolls that are available to order comes in original, curvy, and tall sizes. These various body types are a big change for this-50-year-old Barbie doll since the vice president for Barbie’s design, Kim Culmone, stated that there wasn’t any reason to alter the proportions of Barbie to be more realistic.
Barbie’s Effect on Young Girls and Their Criticism
Mattel, the company that creates and produces Barbie has been facing a lot of criticism. Those intense criticisms came from a lot of women who thought that playing with Barbie can give negative impacts to little girls’ self-esteem. The reason is that they might hope to look like Barbie. Even though Barbie’s figure is actually just a fantasy and attains by no one. But is there any scientific proof which Barbie can give that negative impact to children’s satisfaction and body image?
Research according to this question is a little bit different and shockingly scarce. At the same time, there are a lot of studies that show images of thin women in the media make teenage girls and women more unsatisfied with their images.
The Scientific Results about the Relation of Playing Barbie Dolls and Body Image
In order to show you the proof, let’s take a look at these researches:
In the United Kingdom, there was a 2006 research about a study of 162 U.K. girls who are around five to eight. They were given picture books which didn’t show bodies at all or featured Barbie and a more realistic body proportion named Emme. The researchers asked the girls after looking at the books related to their body image.
The result shows that younger girls that read the books with Barbie in it were more unsatisfied with their bodies compared to those who read body-less books or Emme. But, for older girls who are around seven and eight, the books apparently didn’t give any impact to their body image.
Another study published in 2010, the researches gave three different types of toys. They were a Barbie-sized doll, dadu online blocks, and an Emme doll to 10-year-old girls in the Netherland. The researchers asked them questions related to body image after 10 minutes playing. The result is the toys that the girls received didn’t affect their body image at all.
In 2014, a survey of young women was done. The conclusion of the study is there is no relation between how old they began playing with Barbie dolls and body image and how many they have Barbie dolls.
New Hope for the Next New Dolls
So, what can we conclude from all those researches? Maybe Barbie is just one of many girls’ influences. They emphasize the thin bodies that Western beauty standard expects from them. The youngest girls might not think to compare their own body to Barbie’s. But, by the time they are around seven, they start comparing themselves as the 2006 study shows.
So, are Barbie dolls dangerous for young girls? Will the new version and more realistic dolls help? We are not sure about that. But we can answer both questions with “yes, a little”. Some people predict that Barbie will be forgotten. It will be replaced by stronger image of a new doll that brings more positive message to women.