Here are some interesting facts about Barbie to consider. If she were human she’d be classified as Anorexic. And because she’s so out of proportion, she’d have to walk around on all fours!
So today’s question is this…
Did Barbie kick-start my self-loathing?
When I was a little girl I played with Sindy and Barbie dolls. When I was four, I ended up super-gluing a Sindy head to my finger so I could be part-doll/part-girl. My unsupervised adventures with chemicals resulted in being rushed to the doctor to get the teeny plastic head removed from my four-year old finger.
I only had two Barbie dolls in my collection: ‘Peaches and Cream’ and ‘Chrystal’. I really wanted to get Ken so I could stage a wedding. Those two needed to get married regardless of the absence of genitals.
Years later, I went to visit my Nana Mollie in New Zealand when I was 19. She’d kept a box of dolls my mother had when she was a little girl. They were Barbies that she’d mutilated – blacked out the eyes and stuck safety pins through their scalps! She’d also made them tiny punk outfits (itty bitty tartan skirts with chains). I’m not a psychologist, but I’m pretty sure my mumma was a bit of a rebel in terms of conformity.
My 6-year-old daughter Olivia has never taken an interest in playing with a Barbie doll. I’ve offered them to her and she just doesn’t want to get obsessed (like I was) constructing different outfits and trying to find the miniature shoes to match etc. My Olivia much prefers the Sylvanian Families and I’m hoping that’s not going to mess up her body image because she’ll never have a tail. I’m kidding. But really, I’d love for there to be a day when tails are fashionable. Forget going to a surgeon to get a boob job…gimme a tail!
Okay Sarah, get back on track…
The sex industry is full of people that look like Barbie. Wealthy men and stereotypes of ‘Sugar Daddies’ (Hugh Hefner…I’m pointing at you) marry people that look like Barbie. Nicki Minaj and Paris Hilton look like Barbies. Then there’s people that are just born looking like Barbie and get unfairly stereotyped. That would suck.
So did my love of playing with Barbie shape my body image? I’ve been Bulimic/Anorexic, overweight and underweight and I’ve never (not once) wanted to look like a Barbie. However, my knees crack every time I bend them… just like a Barbie doll. Yes, I wanted to be taller, thinner and more popular – but never because of having Barbie worship.
At 32, with a body full of imperfections, I know now that it’s the consciousness I created in my own reality that lead to me not feeling good enough about myself. It’s all me and there’s no point in blaming external forces.
It wasn’t ever like this: ‘Well I want to look like her… now I’m going to throw up my lunch.’
It’s a deeply painful lack of self-acceptance and desire to control that only happens when you neglect to nurture yourself. It always comes back to self-love. Always.
The bottom line is this…
This is a very complex issue. It’s laced with extremely valid arguments about how women (and men) construct their sense of self through their perception of the outside world. For many women, Barbie could have been a very strong catalyst to seal the deal of self-loathing. On the flipside of that coin, playing with dolls could mean absolutely nothing and a little girl (or boy) could grow up being totally in alignment with themselves.
One thing is for sure…comparing ourselves to others will always corrode our soul.
Celebrating your own beauty will allow your soul to blossom.
Barbie is a mere caricature of one ideal of what is beautiful. Just because some people think it’s beautiful, doesn’t mean it is.
The real beauty is in the uniqueness in every individual on the planet regardless of boob size, skin firmness, colour or shape. This meat suit we currently occupy is only a very tiny slither of the soul-pie in this unlimited Universe that we live in.
Did you play with Barbie dolls as a child? What’s your perspective on this? Please comment below. I’d love to know your thoughts…