Barbie Is Not Just a Doll

Our society is polluted. Girls are being influenced by the toys they play with, as they hold dolls that portray a perfect body image, gaze at images of starving models in magazines and hear negative comments from adults such as, I seriously need to lose 10 pounds. No, I could never eat that – too many calories. 

As these impressionable girls mature into women they are bombarded with airbrush adds, cosmetic surgery commercials, manufactured 90 pound celebrities, diet pills and laxatives – everything that goes against the genius of womanhood.

The following article is from MSNBC and written by Lisa Marsh

In Galia Slayen’s hands, the iconic blond plaything has morphed into a life-size representation of what an eating disorder looks like.

Four years ago, Slayen, then a student at Lincoln High School in Portland, Ore., built what she believed to be a life-size version of the doll she played with as a child as part of the first National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

“I was at a friend’s house and her mom’s an artist so there were all these art supplies around,” Slayen told “She helped with the actual proportions.”

Slayen brought the life-sized doll to the Today studios Monday to show off her handiwork. The Barbie stands about 6 feet tall with a 39″ bust, 18″ waist and 33″ hips. She is made of wood, chicken wire and papier-mache, and is dressed in a size 00 skirt that was a remnant from Slayen’s one-year bout with anorexia.

“I’m not blaming Barbie [for my illness] — she’s one small factor, an environmental factor,” Slayen said. “I’m blond and blue-eyed and I figured that was what I was supposed to look like. She was my idol. It impacted the way I looked at myself.”

The goal in creating Barbie’s likeness was to start conversation. “Talking about eating disorders is taboo to many people, and this made people talk about it,” Slayen said. “It’s a shocking image. A lot of people have seen it, and it’s started debates,” she said, particularly after she wrote about it for the Huffington Post. “Her proportions are not 100 percent correct, but her look is not invalid.”

“As a pop-cultural icon, Barbie is often used as art to express one’s own personal opinions and views,” a Mattel spokesperson said in an email. “Girls see female body images everywhere today and it’s critical that parents and caregivers provide perspective on what they are seeing. It’s important to remember that Barbie is a doll who stands 11.5 inches tall and weighs 7.25 ounces — she was never modeled on the proportions of a real person.”

Slayen introduced her Barbie to her college, Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., at its first National Eating Disorders Awareness Week this year.

For the complete article and video from MSNBC click here. The video is 6 minutes and well worth your time. I tried for 2 hours to figure out how to just post the video, but being the incredibly computer illiterate that I am, I couldn’t figure it out. But click the above link to watch it!

The world needs more brave people like Galia. Her courage and strength is inspiring!


2 thoughts on “Barbie Is Not Just a Doll

  1. In the club IMAGE at Vandy (now called Go Figure), we used to have a life-size Barbie, too. She was pretty scary-looking and not at all lifelike. I’ve heard that she’d be so top-heavy that she would have to crawl on all fours. It’s important that the impressionable young girls that play with her know that she’s a doll–a figment of some toymaker’s imagination, not an image to aspire to. If she were real, there would be no room in her for visceral organs, so she probably wouldn’t be able to breathe or walk or even have a heart beat. For all the all-American beauty she supposedly represents, that’s a heck of a lot of limitations. We should present young girls with real images of real women who have lungs to breathe and hearts to love, who are themselves aspiring to the improvement of their minds and souls as well as the improvement of the world. Thank you for raising awareness, Maura, and reminding women and men that beauty begins in the soul, and this is a beauty to which Barbie– for all her plastic “beauty”–doesn’t even begin to compare.

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