Life in plastic — it’s not so unbelievable, in accordance with some Barbie bashers.
A new research discovered that an awesome 82% of the 1,000 multi-generational, feminine case research assume Barbie dolls — which take middle stage in a extremely anticipated Margot Robbie film premiering Friday, July 21 — promote unrealistic physique expectations to women and girls.
Female dolls have traditionally featured slender figures with lengthy, straight blond or brunette hair — and shockingly perky bosoms, particularly for the Nineteen Fifties, once they first hit the market.
“They didn’t assume that the general public would settle for a doll with breasts for youngsters,” the late Ruth Handler, who invented the determine in 1959 after seeing her daughter play with paper cutouts of grownup dolls, as soon as mentioned.
“I knew they had been fallacious,” the co-founder and former president of Mattel, who died at 85 in 2022, bragged of the then-controversial endowment.
Fast-forward to 2023: The new analysis from Harmony Healthcare IT additional discovered that 69% of girls assume Barbie can really result in harmful physique picture points. Her slender-but-busty physique has been attributed to some ladies’s insecurities, spawning the “Barbiecore” trend aesthetic, Pepto-colored inside design and a military of “Barbie Girl” wannabes present process excessive cosmetic surgery to seem like a toy.
“I’ve performed soccer all my life, and even at my peak bodily type, my physique by no means resembled Barbie’s,” Stephanie Rodriguez, a 26-year-old video producer and Brooklynite, instructed The Post. “At a younger age, Barbie made me query if my physique was regular.”
Not solely that, however when Mattel launched the notorious blond 64 years in the past, for practically 10 years they produced Barbie dolls that had been solely white ladies and men.
Still, Handler was proper: Barbie grew to become an instantaneous hit, promoting practically 300,000 dolls in its first 12 months.
“Before Barbie, just about the one dolls that had been accessible at the moment had been child dolls — as a result of most girls at the moment solely grew to become mothers,” Cindy Eagan, writer of “The Story of Barbie and the Woman Who Created Her,” instructed The Post in 2018.
Times change, although: With Barbie, ladies might play-act their futures — and never solely as moms however as profession gals, too.
Meanwhile, not everyone seems to be leaping on the Barbie-bashing bandwagon.
“I beloved the concept Barbie wasn’t one-dimensional like most dolls,” Chandler Bishop, a mega-Barbie fan, instructed The Post.
“As a child, I used to run to the shops, hoping I might get my fingers on a Barbie,” mentioned Bishop, 24, a senior copywriter from Brooklyn, simply one in all many different little ladies who desired to play with the pretty-in-perpetual-pink doll.
But whereas Mattel’s Barbie model thrived in gross sales and boosted little ladies’ profession goals, the corporate additionally confronted backlash for its lack of range.
“[Barbie] was a reasonably, blond, blue-eyed, white woman, tremendous skinny, nice boobs, lengthy legs, and I wasn’t that,” Bishop, 24, shared. “As an African American girl, it did make me conscious she was the sweetness customary in America — and I’m not that.”
Eventually, in 1980, they launched the world to black and Hispanic dolls really named Barbie.
Although clients had been ecstatic to see a wider vary of dolls, they nonetheless struggled to attach with the model due to the drastic distinction in Barbie’s physique in comparison with the typical girl.
“I couldn’t relate to Barbie, she was a tall, skinny, blond character, and I used to be a chubby little woman with brown hair who wasn’t an athlete and couldn’t do the issues Barbie did,” Brianna Mati, a speech and language therapist in Orlando, Florida, instructed The Post.
In the 2000s, the typical weight for girls was 171 kilos, in accordance with a 2018 research. Meanwhile, Barbie dolls as human-like figures resembled 5-foot-9, weighing 110 kilos with a BMI of 16.24, in accordance with a research from South Shore Eating Disorders Collaborative.
Barbie’s human-like determine falls underneath the “weight standards for anorexia,” SSEDC claims.
Mattel repeatedly promoted seemingly unhealthy habits to younger consumers, together with the 1965 Slumber Party Barbie that featured a toilet scale completely set at 110 kilos and a e book titled “How to Lose Weight,” which supplied this terse weight-reduction plan tip: “Don’t eat.”
Thankfully, once more, instances do change.
In 2015, Mattel launched a brand new set of Barbies representing three new physique varieties: curvy, tall and petite.
Today, the model represents “35 pores and skin tones, 97 hairstyles, 9 physique varieties and counting,” in accordance with Mattel’s website — and 60% of respondents to the 2023 Harmony Healthcare survey assume new Barbies are higher at reflecting all physique varieties.
“I’ve positively fed into the brand new Barbie period as a result of I’ve purchased my daughter a bunch of Barbie merchandise and can contemplate getting her a doll that has darker hair and represents a blended race,” Brianna Mati, 26, admitted of her daughter Aria Ferreira, 1.
Mattel has apparently discovered a approach to hold Barbie as a cultural icon from 1959 to 2023 due to a willingness — nonetheless doubtlessly time-delayed — to adapt to the ever-changing toy business.
“I really like that Barbie is extra numerous and inclusive now,” Bishop gushed. “I feel it’s so essential to have illustration, particularly for younger ladies.”
According to the Harmony research, 53% of Gen Z ladies assume Barbie represents the perfect physique sort.
“The path [Barbie] is on is unquestionably making an enormous distinction in younger woman’s vanity,” Bishop mentioned.
Furthermore, 39% of Gen Z ladies contemplate Barbie a task mannequin.
“I love how Barbie mentioned, ‘She may be and do something.’ She expanded my view on life and motivated me to go on the market to pursue my goals,” Bishop mentioned.
“Barbie had all of it, so why can’t I?”
Now the Barbie-verse has expanded to the large display screen with Greta Gerwig’s new live-action film “Barbie,” a fantasy-comedy that focuses on the well-known dolls, Barbie and Ken, as they depart the colourful world of Barbie Land and their journey to the true world.
The film has taken a brand new pivot to the model’s inclusion, showcasing range among the many star-studded forged members — Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Issa Rae, America Ferrera and Kingsley Ben-Adir — as representations of various Barbies and Kens.
“I’m to see how this new film incorporates different facets of being stunning not simply the visible facets however tapping into your soul,” Mati instructed The Post.
Nearly 38% of Harmony survey respondents mentioned they plan to see the brand new Barbie film — and 35% of Gen Z ladies assume the movie will give them a extra constructive perspective.
“I’m a Barbie woman, despite the fact that I don’t seem like her,” Bishop quipped. “Her spirit transcends greater than what she seems like.”