Friday, March 7, 2014

The Real Problem With Barbie - Soapbox Style

Have you heard about the new Barbie doll competitor named Lammily? She was created by artist Nickolay Lamm in order to draw attention to Barbie's "unrealistic body proportions."

The Lammily doll
Lamm's project has sparked discussion about how the doll might positively influence body acceptance among young women. While I think that's a nice thought, I don't believe that a doll with more realistic body proportions is going to shift body confidence in little girls or tweens alike. In fact, I don't know anyone who played with a Barbie doll as a kid who then compared herself to one as an adult. (I understand that there are plenty of Barbie doll types who are alive and kicking in the world. One only needs to look at the beaches of sunny, Southern California or watch any "Housewives of [insert city name here]" reality TV show for examples of that.)

The bigger issue here, for me at least, is that young girls get their body confidence from their mothers (or equivalent parental figures), and what mother out there hasn't dieted or fretted about her weight? Or her make-up? Or her hairstyle? Or wrinkles? I know my mom certainly worried about all of these things so I grew up worrying about them too.

I think it's sad that some mothers are willing to put their faith in a doll when it comes to improving body confidence in their daughters. Isn't confidence a learned behavior? We're fooling ourselves if we expect our daughters to love and tolerate their bodies when we aren't even willing to do that ourselves. No doll is going to change that.

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