My mom wouldn’t let me and my sister play with Barbies. When I got old enough to understand why, she told me that it was because there was no chance we would look like Barbie and she didn’t want to put that image in our heads. Considering that most of the women in our family are 5’5″ o shorter and all have dark hair, my mom was totally on point in saying that tall, blond Barbie was a far cry from what we would look like.
How far a cry Barbie is from what any adult woman looks like has been a subject of much discussion over the decades. There have been studies that broke down what Barbie’s physical measurement would be if she were an actual human and the results are striking. According to an article int he Huffington Post:
While Barbie’s head would be two inches larger than the average U.S. woman’s, her waist would be 19 inches smaller and her hips would be 11 inches smaller. Since her waist would be four inches thinner than her head, Barbie’s body wouldn’t have the room it needs to hold all of its vital organs, and her uber-skinny ankles and child-size feet would make it necessary for her to walk on all fours.
To show all of this in stark relief, Rehabs.com, a website for finding eating disorder treatment,` created an infographic showing what Barbie would like and how she compares to an average American woman. The numbers come from a 1996 study called Ken And Barbie At Life Size and appear in a larger report on body hatred and eating disorders that will break your heart. Images of women in the media – from Barbie to magazine models – have a significant impact on how young girls view themselves.
As the mom of a girl, I take the job of teaching her about the reality of human bodies very seriously. This graphic shows the dramatic difference between a doll and a real woman. I’ll be filing it away to show my daughter when she’s ready.
Infographic from Rehabs.com