A few days ago, the Facebook page Plus Size Modeling asked the social network this question: “Should you companies start making Plus Sized Barbie dolls?” For those in favor, the page offers the “like” button; those against the toy are encouraged to comment. Accompanying the question is a Photoshopped illustration of a potential plus-sized Barbie (one that does not exist), wearing the familiar pink halter dress and sporting stilettos on her impossibly tiny feet.
As of this evening, the image has over 40,000 “likes,” serving as votes in favor of the doll. As one follower eloquently writes, “[Barbies] should come in different sizes shapes, height and ethnicity. And we as parents, aunts, & uncles should already be teaching our kids the importance of diversity.” Others have explained that Barbie’s current proportions promote unhealthy ideas on body image; if Barbie’s impossible proportions were applied to a real woman, she would be severely underweight and at risk. A plus-sized Barbie offers an alternate representation of female beauty, one to which many might connect.
But Plus Size Modeling’s post has also inspired a great deal of criticism. Fox News’s Anna Kooiman feels that the doll will promote “an unhealthy figure,” citing the fact that the majority of Americans are considered overweight. Visitors to the Facebook page are also concerned about the health implications of the doll, calling the proportions “ridiculous” and “unhealthy.” Some anger has been expressed over the specific doll imagined in the photograph; many feel that the double chin and proportions are inaccurate to many women’s bodies.
Fox News Tackles The Subject
It’s important to understand that one’s weight does not necessarily have a baring on one’s health, and if plus-sized Barbie promotes an unhealthy weight, the impossibly thin original Barbie of course does the same. As explained in various commentator’s words, girls of every shape and size have a right to be represented in their dolls, to have their experiences validated by play and illustrated by imagination.
Why have Barbies representing only two specific spots on the spectrum? As one commentator puts it, “Barbie dolls should be made just like us in MANY different shapes n sizes. Limiting any type of toy to jus one size sends a negative message that we as women must look a certain size and be a certain size. Which is wrong!!” Real women and girls are unique; we each have different bodies and different stories to tell, and it would be a shame to limit ourselves to toys that idolize any single beauty ideal over another. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks to The Root and The Raw Story
Images via Plus Size Modeling and The Raw Story
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.