Barbie doll is a toy that was released by the American toy company Mattel in 1959 and has enjoyed great popularity around the world for many years. Barbie’s distinctive features, such as her tall, slender waist, full breasts, long legs and smooth skin, have become symbols of female beauty standards for years. However, Barbie dolls and similar beauty standards create a negative body image in society, causing negative effects especially on young girls and women. In this article, the relationship between Barbie and negative body image will be examined and the effects of this situation on society and possible solutions will be discussed.

Barbie doll represents a perfect standard of beauty with her tall boy, full breasted and slim waist. The fact that such body lines are unrealistic and that Barbie is far from the body proportions of a normal person creates a negative body image on young girls. A study by Dittmar, Halliwell, and Ive (2009) found that exposure to Barbie dolls was associated with lower body esteem and higher levels of weak ideal internalization among girls aged 5 to 8 years. Many young girls want to look like Barbie dolls and feel inadequate because they do not meet these standards. Especially adolescent girls may find it difficult to accept their own bodies instead of forcing their bodies to look like Barbie.

The constant support of the Barbie doll’s beauty standards by the media is also an important factor in the increase of negative body image. The constant portrayal of women with similar body types in television shows, movies, magazines and digital platforms increases the efforts of young girls and women to reach unrealistic standards of beauty. Studies have shown that unrealistic body image desire has a negative effect on body dissatisfaction and lack of self-esteem. Research has revealed that as a result of creating an unrealistic body image, many women develop negative body image, eating disorders, depression, anxiety disorders and other psychological problems. Excessive dieting to meet unrealistic beauty standards, wrong methods for weight loss, and unhealthy behaviors such as self-starvation can lead to serious physical and psychological health problems. Another point where the Barbie doll and similar beauty standards are criticized is the lack of social diversity and representation. For many years, the Barbie doll was marketed as a toy, representing mostly white, wealthy, beautiful and slender women. This ignores the representation of those of different ethnicities, body types, and lifestyles, causing them to feel excluded.

Having body proportions like a Barbie Doll is generally considered “ideal beauty” in society. People have undergone many plastic surgeries for the sake of achieving the “ideal beauty”. It is very common among those who want to fulfill their dream of having an idealized appearance like a Barbie Doll. People who have plastic surgery try to adapt to these beauty norms by trying to get away from their own bodies and to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing image, with the desire to look like a Barbie Doll. Considering the health risks and psychological effects of these surgeries, it is important for people to find their own self-worth and accept themselves.

Barbie doll and similar beauty standards contribute to the formation of negative body image in society. Unrealistic body measurements, beauty ideals supported by the media, and a lack of attention to social diversity have negative effects on young girls and women. As a society, we must support realistic body representation, create an environment where different body types are included in the standards of beauty and where everyone can accept themselves. At the same time, the media and advertising industries need to move responsibly to producing content that reflects societal diversity. In this way, social awareness and positive body image can be encouraged. It must be remembered that true beauty comes from within, not from the outside, and that every person is unique and beautiful.

Licensed Clinical

Beyhan Perim Seçmen