Tag Archives: the Barbie effect

My first drafts of the poster

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I undertook these pictures with my phone-camera and they are not so clear and the best quality. On the internet, I found the video which promotes helping people with eating disorders. I found it very inspirational and I used the image of anorectic girl looking into the mirror , but instead of reflection of girl who thinks she is fat, I glued picture of Barbie .

This is the video :

The imagery is black&white and the sentences and the title is in pink colour, which I associate with Barbie. I made three different compositions and in the spaces between pictures I will insert text . I like the idea of the thought bubbles because they make the imagery to be more clear, but because of them, I won’t have a lot of space for the text.  hey are only first drafts and I will try to improve and develop them further.





Looking closer at Barbie as an icon, according to the book ” Barbie culture ” by Mary F.Rogers

Nature of Barbie as an icon, has multiply meanings. She is such an icon , as are Playboy and superman centrefolds.  She is an icon in people’s experiences with her.  Interesting facts, are that she has no children, no husband, no teachers, no boss. The ‘perfect’ world, in which she lives , revolves around her boyfriend Ken and her friends. The consumerism world of Barbie doesn’t end just on dolls: there is Barbie magazine, Barbie cosmetics, Barbie art and even society. Mattel’s advertisements for Barbie describe Barbie as fashionable, glamorous, stunning, elegant. It comes to the point, where Barbie is an icon of white, heterosexual femininity  in contemporary Western societies. A lot of young girls describe her as their idol and that they wish, they looked like her. In my conclusion, she plays a big role in most young kids’ lives.  I also think, that she has the ability to define perfection, but in very exaggerated way. She is an artifact, that has bad effect on young girls minds.

The consumerization of children

In the book, I found report of girl Brenda, who said :” I used to think how cool it would be to have Barbie’s clothes, hair, styles, smiles, and all her accessories. Everything she had, I wished I had. She could have anything she wanted-sport cars, new furniture, a new house, new clothes, a big pool, and a whole bunch of shoes. ”  – I think that it’s very common reaction, as I remember that when I used to play with Barbie dolls, I wanted to be like her too.

According to what this girls said and also a few other children, Barbie had everything- clothes, cars, beauty. She represents some kind of unreal or extreme material comfort, what people form the middle class normally can’t afford. In my opinion, it has big impact on woman’s  psyche and well being as it makes us ( woman) to have a need for approval , which includes slim tights, flat stomach and boyish hips abviously  and striving to perfect body and look, which is impossible , as there always can be something what could be improved. In the book I found opinion, of Hesse-Biber, who  has published widely on the impact of sociocultural factors on women’s body image: ”Barbie also shows that a woman ”may never find relief from the Cult of Thinness.” Barbie is a fashion doll, that symbolize a culture’s idealized woman.  That makes me to think about anorexia, bulimia and about how we (female) perceive ourselves when we look in the mirror.

That’s what The Toy Manufacturers of America  say:

”Children today have unprecedented power as consumers… Kids spend approximately $2.6 billion of their own money on play items such as toys, bikes and  roller skates and $530 million on consumer electronics. In addition, children exert considerable influence on parents making household buying decisions. ”

I think that commercials and adverts play crucial role in  accelerating of fetish of Barbie consumerism. Watching commercials of Barbie dolls and accessories makes a desire of having them .

Barbie as a post human prototype according to the book ” Cyborgs and Barbie dolls” by Kim Toffoletti.

On the first page of third chapter of the book ”Cyborgs and Barbie dolls” I found a sentence which draw my attention :” Barbie is so pervasive in contemporary culture that she hardly requires description.”  It’s so true.  Her image is widespread in all over the world, particularly among little girls, but in the beginning of 60’s , after she was launched onto the market by Mattel, Barbie was a fashion doll for adults to buy. When I think about her from perspective of adult girl, I realise a lot of Barbie’s bad features , which I wouldn’t see if i was 6  year old child. The first thing, which stands out , is her  unobtainable and unrealistic body proportions, which actually make a lot of woman feel inadequate. She became perfect model of femininity, with her tiny waist, extra long slim legs and thick blond hair.

Other moderinised forms of femininity  typified by consumerism are manequins . Usually, the ones that I see in shop displays are ultra slim with ultra sleek surface, which imitates skin. Shop-display mannequins emphasise non-human qualities.   In the world of consumerism, woman became commodity which is easily exchangeable for better, improved model.  It caused vicious cycle , where women pursue for perfect body and appearance.  ‘Invention’ of Barbie contributed to tension between the real and the ideal, where precipice between real look of female and fake , posthuman body doll-Barbie is massive.

I think that image of posthuman Barbie doll is related to eating disorders- anorexia and bulimia among young girls , which has grown 400% since 1970.  Small girls who play with Barbie dolls and for whom she is an authority, they familiarize themselves with the ideal look of woman , and it has further consequences in perceiving themselves.

Aiming to perfect look, not always ends up with wanted consequences-  it’s often beginning of struggle with anorexia or endless feeling of inadequacy.

”If looks could kill ” The Barbie effect. ( the task for seminar 29.01.15)

It’s unbelievable,but  statistics show, that 8 million people in the United States has an eating disorder and 85- 90% of them to be female. Girls start to worry about their weight  between the age of 4 and 6 years old.  They start to wear make-up in the same age bracket. The question is Why they start to worry about their appearance and want to look perfect in such early age ? Who is guilty? Parents, commercials, cartoons ? A lot indicates , that invention of Barbie has contributed to this destructions of behaviour and look of  young girls.  Barbie is known for her ” perfect” weight, looks, clothes, make-up, hair. She lives in her perfect soap bubble world, and where nearly all her gadgets are pink . That makes ”eye-wash” for young girls, for whom Barbie is a role model. I found poster of Barbara Kruger which  has catch my attention straight away :


In the black&white image there is small girls , maybe in in the age of 5, wearing make-up, with perfect hair-style , jewellery and dress. The words on red background say :’ I never want to grow ugly’

I also found on-line this article, which is related to this image and it helped me to understand the reasons of trend to look perfect among girls in such an early age . This article comes from website : http://www.teenink.com .  I attached the link below :


I have also found this commercial from 70’s of  Barbie make-up set for children. It’s ridiculous, how these small girls behave in the video .