Home » Features » Plastic Perfection: Barbie’s Unrealistic Body Image

Plastic Perfection: Barbie’s Unrealistic Body Image

By Isla Duckett, Annika Olson, Charlotte Kruse, Anna Petrunich

 Throughout the past fifty years Barbie has become a fashion icon and unfortunately, has created an unrealistic body image for girls everywhere.

Barbie first debuted on March 9, 1959 wearing a black and white stripped zebra swimsuit (one-piece) with a topknot ponytail. Thirty years later the average girl owned seven Barbies, showing how influential Barbie has been to young females over a course of three generations.

And although girls aspire to be like Barbie, it is physically impossible. In human form, Barbie would have a 20inch waist, 28inch bust line, 15inches at the thigh, shoe size 7, a head 24inches round, a neck 6.5 inches long, and a weight of 100lbs; Barbie would not be able to stand or function as a human. However, this unrealistic image still remains the number one selling doll in America.

Although this doll is marketed towards younger children, it affects women of all ages. Many people have gone as far as having plastic surgery to fit Barbie’s stereotype. For example, model Heidi Montag went through ten plastic surgeries with an end result a “human Barbie”. Cindy Jackson also went through a whopping twenty surgeries with the hope of looking like Barbie as an end result.

Plastic surgery isn’t the only way girls try to change their body image. Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, are serious issues that are the direct result of the pressure of society on girls’ body image.

This pressure has even reached Westborough High School. According to the YRBS (Youth Risk Behavior Survey), 11% of females were overweight according to the BMI scale, while 55% wanted to lose weight. 

Barbie was created to be a fun fashion icon and confident role model for young girls, but unfortunately, has fostered the obsession of the perfect body.

Works Cited:





WHS Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2008

One Response to Plastic Perfection: Barbie’s Unrealistic Body Image

  1. Katherine Nikopoulos

    September 7, 2012 at 1:28 am

    I completely agree with this article. It seems that the media is interfering more and more with the ways teenagers view themselves and often causes negative effects in society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *