Beware of Barbies!

Last Sunday, we were shopping at the Hyderabad Central mall. TH was checking out shoes and I was occupying my little girl in the toys section. As we were checking all the toys, we finally arrived at this section where the Barbie dolls were stacked! As I scanned through each doll, I must say, I was appalled!

There was a fashionista Barbie wearing a provocative dress (something you’ll never permit your teenage daughter to wear!), a beach Barbie in a bikini and a pregnant Barbie (!!!!!)! Seriously, how did these toys even make it to the kids section?!!!!

Before I proceed, here are some quick facts about Barbie –

  • Statistics show that two Barbie’s are sold every second somewhere in the world. In fact, the average American girl from ages 3 to 11 owns 10. 
  • If you met Barbie as a human being, what would she look like? Barbie would stand about 5’6”, weigh nearly 120 pounds, and have the measurements 38-18-34. 38 inches for her chest – 18 inches at her waist – 34 at her hips. It is speculated that if Barbie were human, she would be so thin that she would not be able to menstruate. This is because she would not have the body fat percentage necessary to do so. Statistics say the Barbie body type is likely to occur in one out of every 100,000 women. No matter what way you look at it, Barbie’s body is not average…and also not easily attainable. (Source – http://www.teen-beauty-tips.com/barbie-body-image.html)
  • The researchers, from Sussex and the University of the West of England, looked at the effects of images of two dolls (Barbie & Emme) on almost 200 primary school-age girls aged five to eight. After looking at the images, the girls were asked to pick figures that represented
* their actual body shape
* the body shape they ideally desired and
* their ideal body shape as an adult woman.

    The researchers then analysed the difference between the shape the girls thought they had, and the shape they desired. The five and six year old girls were more dissatisfied with their own shape and wanted more extreme thinness after viewing the Barbie images than after viewing the other images. The six and seven years olds had an even stronger response (Source – http://bodyblisscentral.com/barbie-negative-body-image/ If you have time, I would suggest you to read the entire write-up!)

      While your little girl can channel her mind in so many creative, innocent and childish things, I’m sure the last thing you want her to get conscious about is her body image. This doll not only subconsciously feeds a poor body image into an innocent child, it also draws unwanted attention! You want to know how? Let me share a short incident that happened to me as a kid!
      I was in fifth standard. Like many little girls, even I grew up having my share of ‘Barbies – a Tennis Barbie, a Pop Star Barbie, a Sports Barbie and many more which I cannot recollect. All of them were gifts. One morning, I visited our neighbors house with one of my Barbies. The lady of the house was busy in the kitchen and her high-school son came and picked up a conversation with me and asked for my Barbie. I innocently handed it over to him and what followed was something I choose not to get into the details. For those of you who are wondering if I was harmed – No! But poor Barbie asked for trouble! 
      I shared what happened to my mom (Thanks to her! She’s been a great friend that I never thought twice to share anything.. I mean ANYTHING with her!) and we immediately disposed all the Barbies. I was also alert on whose house I could go and whose not to!
      Well, no parent would want their child to draw this sort of attention! My only advise to every parent is – use your God given discretion before you buy any toy! It has the power to influence your child’s world more than you can imagine!
      The only goal behind this post to bring awareness about the dangers behind this doll among innocent mothers. Being a psychiatrist’s daughter, I always read between the lines be it anything – people or things! Though some may think that it’s being paranoid, it’s not. It’s only saved me from many dangers in disguise! 
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