The Barbie Fantasy
For decades the BarbieTM
doll has been idolized as the American standard of beauty. An
aspiring computer technician student scanned a BarbieTM silhouette into a computer. Here is
what the student discovered:
were a real person, she would be 6 feet 9 inches tall, and she would
have a 41-inch bust and a 20-inch waist!
Proportions were based on head-to-body ratios and other body proportions. It should be
no surprise that most people are dissatisfied with their bodies when the standard we
compare ourselves to is so unrealistic.
Some related statistics and thoughts:
- The average adult American female is 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs about
152 pounds and
wears a size 14 dress. One third of all American adult women now wear a size 16 or larger.
Compare this to the typical female model. The average American model is 5 feet
tall, weighs about 114 pounds and is a size 6/8.
- The obsession with thinness is so pervasive in the United States several studies have
found that young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war,
cancer, or losing their parents.
- It is time for a new approach. We must begin to teach our children and ourselves that
wonderful, caring, and talented human being come in all sizes. We must begin to focus on
total well being--including a positive self-image about our bodies--and not body size and
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD; updated October 2003
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