Barbie: ultimate feminist or unhealthy role model?

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Mattel

By Claire Radler and Maggie Palmer

She’s a doctor, an astronaut, a teacher, and one of the most divisive children’s toys on the market. Most adults, especially women, have some kind of opinion on Barbie. Here are two opposing viewpoints from the staff at Crown, Regina Dominican High School’s newspaper.

Maggie Palmer believes Barbie promotes an unrealistic body image:

From an early age, girls are bombarded with images of what the “ideal woman” should look like, even though it is next to impossible to achieve. Little girls don’t understand the problem behind the plastic; they just see a fun doll to play with. Girls play with Barbies as if they were their friends, or sometimes themselves.

Some skeptics may argue that Barbie is just a toy and has nothing to do with reality. However, every child is influenced by the toys they play with. That’s why society is constantly giving children toys that are designed to prepare them for their adult life. Toys such as doctor’s kits, plastic kitchens, shopping carts, and baby dolls are all components to steering a child into typical and stereotypical adult lives.

Read the full article here.

Claire Radler, on the other hand, thinks Barbie gets a bad rap:

Over the years, Barbie has been subject to all kinds of controversy, mainly because of her “unrealistic” body type that critics claim can hurt the self esteem of young girls and influence them in a negative way. However, these critics are only basing their criticism on Barbie’s looks, which ironically, is something that we are taught not to do. “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” is a common saying, yet critics of Barbie are doing just that. They totally disregard everything that Barbie stands for, focusing strictly on her body.

Barbie is not the source of body issues. In fact, body stereotypes are what created Barbie in the first place. As can be seen in fashion ads from the 1950s, Barbie was designed after the body ideals that already existed: trim waist, long legs, etc. Don’t blame Barbie for causing self esteem issues; she merely reflects what is popular and idealized in society.

Read the full article here.