The Scary Reality of a Real-Life Barbie Doll

Scary! check this out!

By Galia Slayen Chinese and Government Major at Hamilton College

Some people have skeletons in their closet. I have an enormous Barbie in mine.

She stands about six feet tall with a 39″ bust, 18″ waist, and 33″ hips. These are the supposed measurements of Barbie if she were a real person. I built her as a part of the first National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) at my high school, later introducing her to Hamilton College during its first NEDAW in 2011.

By Galia Slayen Chinese and Government Major at Hamilton College

Some people have skeletons in their closet. I have an enormous Barbie in mine.

She stands about six feet tall with a 39″ bust, 18″ waist, and 33″ hips. These are the supposed measurements of Barbie if she were a real person. I built her as a part of the first National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) at my high school, later introducing her to Hamilton College during its first NEDAW in 2011.

When I was a little girl, I played with my Barbie in her playhouse, sending her and Ken on dates that always ended with a goodnight kiss. I had fond times with my Barbie, and I admired her perfect blonde locks and slim figure. Barbie represented beauty, perfection and the ideal for young girls around the world. At least, as a seven-year-old, that is what she was to me.

In January 2007, I was looking for a way to make my peers realize the importance of eating disorders and body image issues. I was frustrated after quitting the cheerleading squad, frustrated with pressures to look and act a certain way and most of all frustrated with the eating disorder controlling my life. I wanted to do something that would turn others’ apathy into action. That evening, my neighbor and I found two long pieces of wood and started measuring. With a little math, nails and hammering, we built a stick figure that stood about six feet tall.
Read how she built it

More “Get Real, Barbie” statistics:*

• There are two Barbie dolls sold every second in the world.
• The target market for Barbie doll sales is young girls ages 3-12 years of age.
• A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.
• Over a billion dollars worth of Barbie dolls and accessories were sold in 1993, making this doll big business and one of the top 10 toys sold.
• If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9″ tall, have a 39″ bust, an 18″ waist, 33″ hips and a size 3 shoe.
• Barbie calls this a “full figure” and likes her weight at 110 lbs.
• At 5’9″ tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.
• If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.
• Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight” with directions inside stating simply “Don’t eat.”

For more information, call the South Shore Eating Disorders Collaborative at 508-230-1732 or visit the National Eating Disorders Association at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
* Source: Body Wars, Margo Maine, Ph.D., Gurze Books, 2000.

3 thoughts on “The Scary Reality of a Real-Life Barbie Doll”

  1. Ummm “Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight” with directions inside stating simply “Don’t eat.” that scares me!
    We dont even consciously think about the effects it has on as everything seems to be blurred by it. Makes me mad and sad all at once!

  2. Barbie Doll Are You That Girl
    By D.K. Milgrim-Heath©2011
    Barbie doll are you that girl-
    With long blond hair you want to twirl?
    Your standing height is straight 6ft. tall-
    As you’re propped against a wall.
    Having got your 38” chest-
    Does that make you feel blessed?
    Your waist is quite small-
    Eighteen inches around that’s all!
    To girls for years you represent perfection-
    All over the world where you have constant projection.
    As was a child I too always to loved dolls that were Barbie’s too-
    Those perfect ideals that a little girl wanted and this is still true.
    A young girl’s body image can change as they’re drastically-
    This Barbie Doll was used for eating disorder and body image issues you see.
    Designed by its owner teaching others that eating disorders must be understood-
    She struggled with them herself for years then conquering them as she reached adulthood.

  3. This doesn’t scare me or surprise me. It disappoints me. I’ve done a seven page research paper on women’s body images around the world, and I used this article in it. It makes me sad how “perfection” has really gone to women’s heads. Barbie is a bad image to reflect on a young girl, just starting to get boobs or something. All those feelings, all at once. That’s what scares me.

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