Since 1959, Barbie has been seemingly been the most popular girl's toy. The idea of Barbie is great. The image, however, is not.
The fact it, Barbie's body is the worst image and role model that a young girl can look to. With huge breasts, an overly-tiny waist, wider hips, long legs, and perfectly pointed feet, the image that Barbie shows off is hands-down one of the most toxic things that we can put in front of a girl - especially one who plays with them during the stage of their life where they need the greatest emotional support and the most amazing role models.
The Barbie brand has done a great job of showing girls that they can be anything including doctors, veterinarians, stay-at-home moms, architects, animal trainers, and astronauts. In that aspect, the Barbie name has done amazing things in encouraging girls (and boys) that they truly can be and do anything that they put their mind to.
There are proven studies about the correlation between Barbie doll exposure and eating disorders; especially starting at a very early age. There has been a story going around for some time now about a man, Rodrigo Alves, who wanted to look exactly like a Ken doll so he has undergone over 50 surgeries including a fake six-pack implant, a Brazilian butt lift, botox, a nose job, liposuction, a removal of four ribs, along with many other things. He did this to achieve the goal of becoming Ken and the outcome of all of these procedures has left him unrecognizable from his passport photo.
In addition to this, a girl from Ukraine, Valeria Lukyanova, has achieved the status of "Human Barbie" Like Alves, Lukyanova underwent surgery to remove her ribs as well as to alter her face to appear more like Barbie. Because of her looks and excessive plastic surgery, she claims that she isn't even human.
Another effect of Barbie is now the "Barbie Feet" trend going around social media. Basically, this trend has people posing with their feet much like how Barbie has her feet - pointed and bent in a picture-perfect way. According to this trend, if the feet of Barbie are perfect, then shouldn't the rest of Barbie be perfect, as well?
Unfortunately, these aren't the only cases about women and men trying to achieve a perfect life and body. There is no coincidence that the use and exposure to these dolls have the potential (higher than most) to truly affect a person's life - and not for the better. Is this really what we should be showing our girls and boys? Aren't there better options for toys than that?
Within the last couple of years, the Barbie brand has been trying to include a more diverse range of Barbies from jobs to race to, yes, body types. However, it seems like that diversity hasn't come soon enough. It's amazing to see the new range coming out; including "plus size" Barbies.
However, it seems as though American Girl Dolls are an ideal substitute for the Barbie name. Not only do they promote body positivity (and always have), but the range of races, personalities, time periods, and cultural differences have blown away customers since the 1980s.