Me and my Barbie

Published on 3 Feb 2016 . 3 min read

57 year old Barbie is yet again embroiled in a fresh lease of debate on the influence she has had over young girls. Without breaking a sweat, the Mattle doll surges ahead with new additions to the squad, 33 to be precise. Only this time in more realistic sizes and a variety of skin tones, hairstyles and eye colours.

"By introducing more variety into the line, Barbie is offering girls choices that are better reflective of the world they see today," said Mattel.

Most girls will have a favourite Barbie story or memory while growing up - packing her up in the school bag, sticking the dolls head in a blender to give her a hair wash or having to face the tragic loss of Barbies head or limb after a brother rips it out and so on. But there is a more latent memory that the subconscious, impressionable and innocent minds of young girls grew up looking at perfect Barbie - that life has to be perfect! Now, am sure the well meaning doll didn't have that in mind while she adorned herself with an unrealistic body type or with the perfect hair and clothes, or even the perfect house and friends but she surely did communicate that.

When a child can imitate every thing he or she hears or can pick up gestures and body languages of people she is surrounded with, imagine the effect of the perfect world of Barbie would have on the little tot who obsessively by now looks up to the doll to be a barometer of how she envisions her life to be, considering she has already given a huge part of her childhood to the doll.

A child’s early ideas about body type, appearance and weight are most certainly coined by the family, the media and the environment he or she grows up in. Whereas it most certainly would be inappropriate to devoid a child of a perfect looking doll (a child should have a chance at everything), it definitely would be wiser to expose the child to various schools of thought and training the child to be more capable to rule the good from the bad, the right from the wrong, the real from the unreal. Beauty could be made synonymous to health and agility. Strength and endurance should be appreciated and given a high regard. Attentiveness, showing initiative, standing up for whats right should be routinely given the highest grade of honour. Physical beauty is no way a bad thing, it becomes bad when it starts being perceived as the only thing.

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Mudita Ghia
Mudita Ghia is a contributing writer with SHEROES and is the Founder and Director of Clarus Media.

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