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Joined: Oct 2003
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I've been wondering about whether the Barbie Doll is an influence on making us feel we need to be so shapely?

I think when I was in my teens I thought I had to be very thin but curvy.

Now as a granma I'm just trying to stay healthy. <img src="/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

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Jellyfish
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Hi, Susan.

Barbie was definitely an influence when I was a young girl. Growing up, though, she got replaced with models and celebrites (for me anyway). One thing that has gotten better, though, is there are a lot of beautiful women in our media world at every age -- not just in their 20's.

You're a grandma? You look so little in that picture <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


Trevy Thomas
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I never saw barbie as anything more than a plastic toy with hair that's fun to cut and a face that is fun to draw on. I have three girls now and none have cared for barbie all that much once they hit 6 or 7.

I think a worse influence are the ones I see in magazines, tv, billboards, etc.

Personally, I've gotten over a lot of that once I started having children, but every once in a while I start to feel it creep in. I look at my kids (I have more than the average supermodel), my checkbook (can't afford 4 hour work-out sessions daily) and the mirror (I wish i had an airbrush, LOL)

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Hehehe...

To top it off I was a classical ballet dancer till age 30 and here at 59 still have that image in mind ...

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Jellyfish
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Wow, a classical ballet dancer. That seems like such a dream life. I know what you mean about having a former image in mind. I remember my mom saying, in her 60's, that she still felt 20-ish and was so surprised when she looked in the mirror that it made her laugh <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


Trevy Thomas
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Barbie was definitly an influence on me and as others here have mentioned--the supermodel craze. Today I think what most influences kids and adults are the magazines, tv, etc. because kids are actually veering away from standard toys like dolls in favor of the video games and cell phones they see supermodels and celebrities using. Personally, I'm 26 and I moderate my tv watching because that stuff really affects me.

It is sad to see that thin/curvy perfection is what is aspired to rather than happiness and health.


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I really dont think that Barbie effected me. To me she was just a piece of plastic with pretty hair.I always thought that she had an odd body. I mean she had no stomach! But I do admitt that tv and magazines effect me, they make me wish I had super cute clothes, they dont make me think that my body is ugly though, I mean I look at Madonna and I think she looks awesome for her age and it motivates me to be healthy I know that thin does not always mean heathy but I think theres nothing wrong with wanting to be in shape and trim. But I do hear all these horror studies of teens with eating disorders and self image problems at such a younge age! Thats scary! I think alot of that is tv and magazines.. But also alot of that they get at home.. Just an oppion! <img src="/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

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What I'm more worried about is that young girls want to dress like Barbie! Used to be that wasn't so bad - but these days - ACK!

There is no way I would let my daughter (8) wear the bathing suits they put on these dolls! Or half of the other outfits either. They look like they could be on the Cartoon Network's version of "Pretty Woman" - and not in a good way! Especially the "My Scene" Barbie's - what's with these dolls, and Bratz? They all look like they are just waiting to say "*** you" to parents. Is this what we really want our little girls emulating?!? <img src="/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />


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I don't have a daughter, but if I did, we would definitely have trouble with fashion. I can't stand seeing little girls who look like streetwalkers -- plus it seems unsafe, like they will be attracting the wrong attention. My dad used to say "Girls have it tough. It's best not to draw attention to yourself in anyway. Dress like a potato sack." I didn't quite go to that extreme, but I thought about safety when I got dressed.


Trevy Thomas
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#232123 02/24/06 12:58 PM
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My Barbie Doll...I had the first one, I think...blonde bubble haircut, black and white one piece swimsuit...I loved dressing her in her little fashions, fussing with her hair. But I can honestly state she had no influence on me, as far as body image. She was/is, after all, merely a 'toy'. Something not to be thought of as 'real', in any way. As a child, I knew the difference, between a 'toy' and what's real.

I think the visual media is, and has been, the main culprit as far as influencing society, as to body image. I'm fifty-four years old, and have had a front row seat to the gradual building of that influence. I've seen what is and has been shown in magazines, films, and on television, through the years, (all merely entertainment venues, for the most part) become a society's standard. Illuisons transformed into a belief of reality.

Barbie has been blasted, has been pointed out as the culprit for causing low self-esteem, and a distorted sense of body image, from which so many of our girls and young women suffer. But, Barbie is just an innocent toy. The real culprits are those behind the mega visual media giants.

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#232124 03/01/06 07:40 PM
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I agree with you, Jeannine. I think sometimes it's just easier to blame something outside ourselves rather than deal with what's really inside.

Speaking of image, you look fabulous. I love to see women who are proud to post their age -- and you have every reason to flaunt it!


Trevy Thomas
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#232125 03/14/06 02:50 PM
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I've never really tried to analyze the influence of Barbie on my self-perceptions and notions of body image. I do think society bombards women with unattainable images that are destructive.

I only recently began thinking about issues of gendered toys when helping a friend buy Christmas gifts for his six neices and nephews. There is one little girl who is incredibly timid and shy, though clearly precocious, who my friend says reminds him of how he imagines I would have been at that age.

Well, the girl's mom said she loves to play kitchen, use her toy vacuum, play dress up and anything Strawberry Shortcake. My friend is a very liberal and sensitive guy and he really didn't want to buy anything that was "girlie". I found myself in the toy store admiring the Strawberry Shortcake items and Hello Kitty-- I began to wonder how I would handle all these issues when I have children someday. . .


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#232126 05/09/06 11:06 AM
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Apparently if Barbie were a real person she would be so top heavy she'd fall over! That's what someone told me at school anyway. At the time I didn't know I would grow up to have to contend with very large breasts myself. If barbie were an accepted shape then maybe people would talk to my face and take my boobs for granted... although I certianly wouldn't say no to her legs and flat stomach!

#232127 05/09/06 11:48 AM
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I take more of an issue with the Bratz dolls that are out today. They wear too much makeup and not enough clothes. My niece has one that is suppose to be a baby doll and it wears a thong.

#232128 07/12/06 05:27 PM
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I loved my Barbies when I was a kid, but it never occurred to me to want to look like one...they were 10 inch tall plastic dolls.


Mother always said that even when things seem bad there's someone else who's having a worse day. Like being stung by a bee or getting a splinter or being chained to the wall in someone's sex dungeon.
#232129 07/12/06 06:48 PM
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I had them when I was little. My sisters insisted I needed dolls to play with--I preferred stuffed animals. The dolls made great tug of war toys for playing with the family dog; but otherwise left no impression.

I did save one in its original box--never took it out. Auctioned it off to help pay for my first semester of college.

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It's kind of funny that you post this topic, because it was one of the first times I had come to realize that having an ed was not normal. I remember when I was in girl scouts as a brownie (about 7) we were talking about body image and such, and the question was posed; what is the ideal body? that's a REALLY loaded question for a seven y-o to answer, but I did with absolutely no hesitation (a rarity for me at that time) reply "Barbie!" Everyone just stared at me. I felt the room closing in. I began to think in my head 'is that wierd?'" I was actually quite suprised I was not only the only one to say it, but for no one to agree with me.

To say that Barbie was a major source for "feeding" (ironic, ey? XP)my ed would be rediculous, but I will say that it added to the pot of trouble.

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Interesting. I never looked at Barbie in terms of body image! I just played with her, and Ken. I did notice their perfection but didn't apply it to myself.....

And then I developed an eating disorder and poor body image and low self-esteem.

Could there be a subconscious connection?

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I believe so. Maybe not directly with that particular toy, but it's a collaboration of everything. just think back to the old sitcoms and such. abuse was never seen or discussed. everyone was happy.
everyone was healthy, etc. ED have been around forever. I remember reading a book on ana during the victorian age. it was really interesting. and another thing is family history. i have come to recently discover after talking to a relative that there have been atleast 3 generations we are certain of of having some sort of eating disorder. anyone else have any more insight?

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Barbie is not real so no it never influenced me. And even if she were real she would not of influenced me either.

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Never influenced me. I was more intimidated by other girls at P.E. or cheer leaders when I was in high school. After I got into my 20's nothing influenced me about other people's bodies.


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I had Barbie Dolls while growing up. I have to believe they at least subconsciously made me think about how bodies should be shaped. At the time all Barbies were tall and slim. That was the only option. And white.


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Never had one. I didn't really play much with dolls but I did have a little rubber doll named Betsy.

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I always knew it's impossible to look like Barbie. Her waist is too small. Maybe, there are those with miracle DNA, but never really thought of becoming Barbie.

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