I’ve been Mexican American my entire life and I don’t know one woman who would wear a floor length pink peasant dress and walk around with a Chihuahua. But Mattel thinks that’s a good representation of Mexico Barbie. Not only that, but she’s carrying a passport, which has many people up in arms.
But really, if you’re looking for political correctness and realistic role models, Barbie isn’t your gal. I would take offense at her carrying a passport, but all of the international Barbies are carrying passports. And it can be argued that all of the International Barbies are stereotypes, too.
Just look at China Barbie holding a Panda Bear and wearing a skin-tight red dress with a slit halfway up her thigh. Or Paris Barbie with her beret and basket of bread. India Barbie is decked out in a gorgeous dress and sporting a monkey, yes a monkey.
Many news outlets and blogs have taken offense to Mexico Barbie carrying a passport considering immigration for Latinos in the United States is such a heated issue. What’s appalling to me and has been for as long as I can remember is not what Barbie is holding or wearing, it’s Barbie’s bizarro body.
Check out the below infographic created by Rehabs.com, a service that helps people find rehabilitation services including drug addictions and eating disorders, for the project Dying to be Barbie, Eating Disorders in the Pursuit of the Impossible. It used data found in this study to compare the average American woman’s body with the body of what Barbie’s would be if she were real.
We know that Barbie’s breasts are giant and her waist small. But if she existed with her current doll proportions, her long thin neck wouldn’t be able to hold up her head. Her stomach would only be big enough for half of her liver, and she would have to walk on all fours because her feet and ankles are too small to hold up her upper body.
But do dolls need to be realistic representations of women or can they be purely fantasy? The problem with Barbie is that some young girls believe she has the ideal body, a body that doesn’t exist in reality even among anorexics.
This is disturbing because after girls stop playing with Barbies they are bombarded with images from magazines and television of what the ideal woman should look like with that seed of Barbie’s long thin neck planted in their heads.
A doll that represents one’s culture is a wonderful idea. A doll that looks even remotely like a real person is even better. What we really need is a Barbie that is a little more realistic and one can old her head up high. Or just hold it up at all.
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