On March 9th I was trying to read the latest news on the internet and encountered several articles announcing that it was Barbie’s birthday! I was amazed at the amount of important that the media has given to Barbie’s birthday. Why is Barbie so important? Of course, it is one of the most popular toys among young girls but is that a good enough reason to dedicate massive amount of articles? I do not think that Barbie is that important. After all, Barbie is one of the reasons why our young girls grow up paying so much attention to beauty and body image.
The clothes that is sold for Barbie are all tight-fitting to match the shape of Barbie’s body . Barbie’s makeup also portrays stereotypes about women in terms of their race. White Barbie dolls have very soft color makeup and usually have blue eyes. Other Barbie dolls that represent other ethnicities are portrayed through many stereotypes. There is an African Barbie doll who is dressed in African clothing and their skin color is often very dark. The dolls wear large jewelery as well. Mexican Barbie dolls are dressed in Mariachi dresses and wear hoop earrings and their skin color is a bit darker. The problem with skin color is that Barbie dolls implicate that if you see someone who is Mexican they must be wearing a Mariachi outfit. To view the “Dolls of the World Collection” click here
Although not everyone is highly influenced by toys, some are. However, toys are given to children so they can learn a little about the adult world. Barbie’s perfect silhouette body shape teaches young girls that when they get older, their body is supposed to develop looking like that. Barbie is designed to portray an unrealistic body type by featuring a perfect proportionate body and perfectly shaped breasts. When young girls begin to see that their bodies do not reflect Barbie’s body they begin to think of ways to modify their bodies through excessive exercise and dieting. As they get older some even resort to costly and painful cosmetic surgeries.
So if Barbie impacts society in such a negative way, why does the media pay so much attention to Barbie and celebrate her birthday? Instead of celebrating Barbie’s birthday why not celebrate the birthdays of important women who have contributed to our society in a positive way. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we hardly ever learn about the women who have contributed to society and congratulate them for their accomplishments. Therefore, the media should be utilized to celebrate these people’s accomplishments.
Many may argue that Barbie dolls have not had a negative impact on our society. The arguments that are usually made are that Barbie’s are just toys and that children are not able to identify the racial, and sexist stereotypes. Other may argue that we should be paying more attention to other social forces that cause low self-esteem. To learn more about both sides of the argument as well as what Mattel (the company that produces Barbie dolls) has to say in regards to this controversy click here.
So do you think Barbie is influencial to young teens in developing low self-esteem problems? Does Barbie negatively reinforce racial stereotypes? Should the media continue to celebrate Barbie’S birthday as if she has contributed in positive ways to our society? Let me know what you think!