Reegan Martell English 1110 Dr. Adams 12/08/2011 Argument Analysis: “Our Barbies, Ourselves” Since its debut in 1959, a molded plastic doll named Barbie has become an icon. Barbie became the icon that functioned as both an outlet for girls' dreams and an ever-changing reflection of American society. Emily Prager is one of the many young girls that grew up as having Barbie as one of their favorite toys. Emily Prager is a columnist with the New York Times and in her spare time she has published many books such as World War ll Resistance Stories; A Book of Humor, “Official I hate Videogames Handbook”, and many others. In this article Prager questions how Barbie had an effect on her life as a child growing up and how she viewed Barbie as well.
Ironically, the dimensions that Barbie would not even be anatomically possible on humans. A women with her dimensions of 36-18-38 would not be able to live. The perfection Barbie portrays has influenced many women attain Barbie's body by having operations to make themselves "look like" Barbie. Cindy Jackson, founder of the Cosmetic Surgery Network, is a famous Barbie Doll human. She had more than twenty operations and dispensed more then $55,000 in her attempts to look like Barbie.
Since the creation of the Barbie doll in 1959 by Mattel Inc., the public has scrutinized the doll for her impractical body proportions and excessive wardrobe, accessories, and lifestyle. Perhaps Barbie is more than just a toy, she may have a prominent influence and psychological effect on the children that play with her. Barbie’s unrealistic body proportions have created a negative influence for young girls, causing them to feel self-conscious of their body image. The negative psychological effects of the Barbie doll on young girls have been recorded by psychology professors Helga Dittmar, Susan Ive, and Emma Halliwell. In their 2006 psychological experiment, Does Barbie Make Girls Want to Be Thin?
Let me remind you again that this is why girls under 16 shouldn’t be allowed to be models. The fashion industry is to blame for most girls’ fixation on being thin according to the 89% of respondents who took part in a survey conducted by the Girl Scouts of Australia. Psychologists and eating-disorder experts are worried about this and so should we all. These children are part of the future generation. No one wants to see what could have been bright and healthy futures taken away from them simply because of their diet.
For example, by the 1950s, many adolescent girls considered Marilyn Monroe the ideal of beauty. Many wanted to look like her. She was a size twelve. In today’s society, if a young girl is a size 12, she considers it a death sentence. This is because the models that are shown in magazines today are size double zero.
Literary Analysis: “Barbie Doll” Today’s women hold themselves to unreachable and unreasonable standards of beauty. With media and social networking on the rise, the standard of beauty is skewed to what others portray it to be. Girls and women of all ages and diversity have self-esteem issues due to the “beauty myth”. Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, defines it as an obsession with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of ‘the flawless beauty’.” In Marge Piercy’s poem “Barbie Doll”, the deadly effects of the beauty myth are revealed. It all begins with a young girl being born into the world of judgment.
It is often implied that Barbie represents white middle class emphatic femininity but in this essay I will to attempt critically demonstrate that this is not actually the case and will explore issues that help prove otherwise. Throughout time Barbie has evolved extensively to meet society’s needs and stay as the world’s number one doll. Since the late 50’s when Barbie was first released Barbie has been adapted ‘Very much responding to contemporary fashion, youth culture, and notions of ‘Lifestyle’, she underwent a number of constructional changes. These included a swivel waist for dancing (1969), a whole range of movable bodily joints for the ‘New Living Barbie’ (1970), hands that could hold accessories such as a telephone or portable TV (1972), and a ‘Free Moving Barbie’ mechanism which allowed her to wield a tennis racket or golf club.’ Editor Britannica Concise Encyclopaedia. 5 decades later Barbie has had many respectable careers, was divorced in 2004, is completely independent and relies on no man.
Women are dieting to fit the average female model, which is “not only taller than the average woman but weighs nearly 25% less” (the Canadian health network). As a young child, girls learn to be beautiful from dolls such as Barbie and boys play with action figures like G.I Joe. These toys shape a child’s belief of what is the ideal appearance. At a young age, teenage girl magazines focus 37% on appearance while half of the advertisements sell their products by appealing to beauty (Kaiser family foundation). Compared to male appearances, which are talked about less often in the media, females are more prone to eating disorders and diets.
Indeed today, beauty pageants for young girls are becoming more and more popular. However, I believe that young girls should not be allowed to participate and join beauty pageants because it affects their overall well-being in a negative way. First, these child beauty pageants damage the young girls psychologically and physically. A lot of child advocates and psychologists have already spoken out against child beauty pageants and claim that these pageants are not really helpful for healthy child development. According to William Pinsof, a clinical psychologist and president of the Family Institute at Northwestern University, “Being a little Barbie doll says your body has to be a certain way and your hair has to be a certain way.
Barbie sells over 1 billion annually across 150 countries. It is estimated that three Barbie dolls are sold every second1. Although Barbie was positioned as the ultimate American girl, it was never manufactured in the US, primarily to avoid higher production costs. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese home-workers. In the first year of production, around 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold.