Barbie, with all of her alleged flawlessness, has been taking a hit lately. Sales for the popular doll have taken a bit of a tumble, with sales that have declined four quarters in a row. Doll buyers are apparently turning to American Girl Dolls and Monster High Dolls instead of the iconic blonde bombshell.
Barbie has long been noted for her impossible proportions. Doll makers have created more realistic versions of the doll that look more like the girl next door. This week’s Time article points out that in a 2006 study, young girls exposed to Barbie reported lower body esteem and a greater desire to be thin than their counterparts who were exposed to a different doll. Could parents be getting increasingly savvy about the messages we’re sending to girls?
Regardless of the reasons parents and girls are turning away from Barbie, a few things are certain. Owning a Barbie isn’t going to make or break a young girl’s self-esteem; many women have owned Barbies and have a very healthy body image (I’m one of them). But Barbies are one of thousands of images young girls get throughout their lives that reinforce that thin is a beautiful ideal — and it’s usually one of the earliest images a young girl will get.
You don’t have to necessarily shun Barbie altogether to help instill a positive body image in your daughter, but we’ve got a few things you can do to foster a healthy attitude in your kids and yourself!
Do you keep Barbies around your house? How do you encourage healthy body image in your kids?