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Few objects are more emblematic of the male obsession with the female breast and the sacrifices women are willing to make in order to live up to the male ideal, with thousands of women now suffering ill effects from having undergone the operation. Some blame the mass media—and even the Barbie doll, which if life-size would measure 40-18-32—for giving women a false self-image

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The origins of Barbie–the most popular doll in the world in the last half of the twentieth century–can be traced to Lilli, originally a Das Bild comic strip character of a saucy blonde, later produced as a pornographic doll popular among bachelors in postwar Germany. While on a trip to Europe, Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler discovered Lilli, the prototypical doll she believed would enable girls like her daughter, Barbie, to imagine their future selves in roles other than that of mothers. (Baby dolls dominated the postwar American toy market.)

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Barbie's body proportions, as a cultural icon of female beauty, have received much criticism (e.g., Brownell, 1991), and empirical studies confirm that her body proportions are unrealistic, unattainable, and unhealthy. When fashion dolls, including Barbie, were compared with the typical fashion model and the Greek ideal of beauty, standardized bust measurements of fashion dolls showed that adult women would assume heights of 6′2 in. (1.88 m) to 7′5 in. (2.26 m)

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Barbie: The Doll's Problem Is More Than Skin-Deep | Time

Mattel received many criticisms about Barbie and the impact she has on young girls around the world. In the summer of 2000, they decided to change Barbie to a more modern look. “The new Barbie will have a more natural body shape – less busty with wider hips.” What caused Mattel to make these changes? One influence may have been a drop in sales. According to the Los Angles Business Journal, Barbie sales dropped from $2 billion to $1.5 billion in 1999.

When Barbie Went to War with Bratz | The New Yorker

Barbie is the figurehead of a brand of Mattel dolls and accessories, including other family members and collectible dolls. Barbie has been an important part of the toy fashion doll market for fifty years, and has been the subject of numerous controversies and lawsuits, often involving parody of the doll and her lifestyle.


Sharlene Hesse-Biber, in her 1997 book Am I Thin Enough Yet?, writes that Barbie's dimensions "include exaggerated breasts, impossibly long legs, nonexistent hips, and a waist tinier than a Victorian lady's. This is the perfect figure presented to little girls as 'ideal.'"

Multicultural Barbie is Uni-Dimensional | femtheory2012

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."

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Regarding the Barbie doll as a toy to envision an adult life, young mothers, struggling to balance careers and parenthood, wondered if the independent Barbie doll oversimplified the choices available to young women. Without family ties, the doll seemed to deny girls practice at the difficult balancing act their mothers attempted daily. But supporters of the Barbie doll reasoned that just as children could decide whether the Barbie doll would "marry" they could also decide whether the Barbie doll would "have children."