Opinion: Set Up For Failure

By Morgan Mitchell

Every girl in the United States under the age of twelve has a Barbie. Barbie is the classic image of beauty with her long, flowing, perfect hair, huge pretty eyes, and long sexy legs. And of course because she has all of this, she get’s the perfect, handsome husband and the mansion of every girl’s dreams. But have the creators of this doll gone too far?

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood announced that Mattel’s Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll won its inaugural TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the worst toy of the year. Mattel made Barbie wear tiny shorts, high heeled boots, and an extremely revealing top. To top it off, the body of the Barbie wearing the scandalous outfit is so skinny, that its almost borderline anorexic.

When little girls look at Barbie while they brush her hair and dress her up, they admire her looks and strive to look just like her. That’s why Mattel sells Barbies that come with the same outfit life-size for the girl getting that special toy. Do you want your little sister or future daughter, or maybe just the female youth of our nation looking at that Barbie’s tiny waist and toothpick legs and striving for that in life? What about when they look in the mirror and notice their eyes aren’t that pretty shade of purple and don’t take up half of their face? Young girls will never have that skinny of a nose with that plump of lips, or that skinny of waist and chest with a large bottom and perky breasts. What does this say about the standards of our society having these dolls mass produced and sold to impressionable little girls all over the United States?

According to the South Carolina Department of Health, an estimated eight million people in the United States have an eating disorder, and 85- 90% of them are female. 80% of those females are under the age of 20. Countless number of these females admitted that they started worrying about their weight when they were between the age of 4 and 6 years old. As well, many of the girls who have or had an eating disorder admitted that Barbie played a huge role on their influences in behavior and looks. They were led to believe that the only way to be happy and have a wonderful life is to be just like Barbie, with the super skinny look. Why wouldn’t they want to look like her? She’s popular and successful and has the dream life! In fact, in 1965 Mattel came out with a “Slumber Party Barbie” that came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 pounds. The doll also came with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight”. Inside this book it said “Don’t Eat”. The matching Ken doll also came with slumber party accessories, but his were milk and cookies, sending a very different message about body image and weight for different genders.

Have you ever noticed how much makeup Barbie wears and how perfectly wavy or straight her hair is depending on what style she was going for? Well, if you’ve ever seen those cute pictures of little girls with lipstick and eyeliner smeared all over their face, that’s why they are attempting that. They see Barbie hiding her natural beauty and promoting that beauty can only be found through a thick mask of makeup over your face, so they try it out themselves in order to fit in to society. They also start dying their hair and buying hot irons and curlers at a young age so they can fry their natural silky hair in order to achieve Barbie’s perfect locks.

In order to bring back natural beauty into society these dolls should be banned as a health hazard for young girls. Or they should be made more realistically with positive reinforcements like healthy eating and healthy proportions with natural hair and no make-up. Mattel needs to stop emotionally abusing our female youth.