Barbie Girls

By: Grace Mechem

I got my first Barbie when I was three years old. She was tall, slim, blue-eyed, and had long blonde hair. All Barbies looked like that and that’s how I wanted to look too. 

I used to think I would grow up to be Barbie…or at least look like her. 

In first grade I was tall for my age, had hazel eyes, and fair blonde hair down to my waist. It felt like I was turning into my dolls, the Barbies I idolized and loved so dearly. 

Then middle school hit. 

I watched as people passed me up in height and started to tower over me. I watched as my hair grew thick and became a gross shade of dark blonde. I watched as my fingers and cheeks became chubbier and rosier over my pale skin.  

By this time, Barbies were old news to me. I had a dozen Barbies, all blonde, slim, and perfect. I became a teenager, grew up and out of the supermodel-like dolls quickly. I was dealing with my own life, and it was no longer exciting to coordinate the lives of dolls that looked nothing like me. 

Body image is the biggest issue amongst the female population. Approximately ninety-one percent of adult women are unhappy with their body. Ninety percent of girls between the ages of fifteen and seventeen want to change at least one thing about their physical appearance. 

Body image is a component of general self-esteem, and the media and society in modern times have a large effect on the uprise in lack of self-image confidence. 

It is estimated only five percent of women naturally possess the body type that modern

American media has dubbed “perfect.” 

But all the statistics and all the self-negativity can tie back to us. We are born the way we are, and each and every human, male and female alike, are individually crafted works of art. The genes, the DNA, and the emotion we get from our parents is what makes us unique. 

What kind of person believes they have the right to look at another human and say they aren’t perfect? Who decided what perfect was? 

Blame the media, blame the Barbies, and blame the people who have to make others feel insecure just to boost their own confidence. 

It has taken years upon years of self-loathing and insecurity and body-shaming towards the female culture—and even male culture—for the world to finally take a step back and realize that people are hating themselves. They’re displeased and judgmental and are taking steps to change their bodies through plastic surgery and through eating disorders and so many other things. 

We as people, should not have to prove we are beautiful or handsome; no matter bodytype, gender, race, or ethnicity. 

It pains me to hear little girls saying there aren’t Barbies that look like them or that they don’t feel good enough. 

I’m here to say I used to love Barbies. That was until I grew up and I saw the uproar of media discouragement towards girls outside the “perfect” category. 

But there is progress being made, with the new idea of plus-sized models like Ashley Graham or Tess Holliday. People aren’t caring about the extra pounds, the stretch marks, the scars, or the imperfections as much as they used to. Magazines don’t photoshop to the extreme anymore or cover up flaws. 

The most beautiful form of you is the natural you. To enforce that is what this world needs, because size does not determine beauty. It never really has. We can look at models like Marilyn Monroe and many others in history that defied the status quo. Acceptance of size, shape, color and ethnicity is a gap we must bridge, because whoever initiated the idea of “perfection” was wrong.  

To help bridge the “perfection” gap there was a release of three new Barbie body sizes, including curvy, petite, and tall, along with a large variety of features, skin colors, and hair types.  Such new ideas are necessary to advance the growth and unity of America and help crush the large percentages of negative self-image issues. 

As I grow older I want to see America and the world move forward and continue making efforts to erase the “perfect” body image. I want to see women love themselves, I want to see personal expression, and I want to see happiness. 

No one is perfect and no one is a Barbie. No one should ever feel the need to be one either. 

grace

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