Toy manufacturer Mattel has caught a lot of heat in recent years for the body image promoted through their iconic Barbie doll. If the body proportions given to Barbie were seen on a real woman, the woman would be 5’9 with a 39” bust and an 18” waist.
In response to the skin and bones physique seen in traditional Barbies, people have called for Mattel to make more realistically-sized dolls featuring shorter, curvier, and plus-sized bodies. In many ways, the Barbie body debate mirrors the ongoing debate in the fashion world about what models should look like. Both industries put forth images of the female body that are in stark contrast to what most women see when they look in the mirror. People call for plus-sized models just as they call for plus-sized Barbies.
Plus-Size-Modeling.com made headlines this week when they posted an image of a plus-sized Barbie dolls on their Facebook page. The company asked viewers if they thought Mattel and other doll manufacturers should start creating dolls like the one seen in the picture. Here is the post:
Although 35,000 “liked” the picture, a number of commenters offered dissenting opinions, saying that an overweight Barbie with a double chin is just as unhealthy a body image to promote as an ultra-skinny one.
"Imo this is horrible,” one commenter wrote. “Maybe make her a little fuller, but in no way promote obesity. Triple chins?? Really?? I’m a curvy girl, but come on this is ridiculous."
Viewer Michelle Ashford chimed in as well and called for the creation of a Barbie with average and realistic features.
“Why not have a realistically proportioned Barbie that promotes healthy diet and exercise?” Ashford said. “Not plus size but definitely healthy weight. A size 12-14 girl would be a great image. Too low or too high a BMI promotes unhealthy living."