Gender Identity

Blonde hair, blue eyes, long legs, the perfect 10; Barbie. Barbie was the top selling doll for girl’s ages seven to thirteen from 1959 to 2006. This fashion diva has gone to Hawaii, has many different looks, a mansion, and a number of different vehicles. While Barbie has everything she could ever want, what does she teach our children? Little girls want to be perfect, like Barbie, a nearly unachievable goal. It lowers their self-worth and sets unrealistic standards. Because of this, some countries are restricting the sales of the dolls and even with the new advancement’s Mattel has made to improve Barbie’s “aura” so-to-speak, there is still a very prominent suggestive gender orientation; such roles now include, architect, computer designer, veterinarian, teacher, pastry chef, and female sports. Barbie dolls influence very stereotypical gender roles when developing gender identity; these toys teach that girls are to be tall, thin, pretty house wives and caregivers.

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When children strive for unrealistic perfection it lowers their self-image and confidence. As stated; Barbie is the model of perfection. Barbie has negative influence on young girls, and makes then self-conscious about their physical appearance because of Barbie’s unrealistic body features. Girls aspire to be very thin, like Barbie. This leads to eating disorders at a young age and causes long term psychological harm. In Australia, there is a cosmetic procedure known as “The Barbie Treatment” It’s main patients are girls between the ages of 16 and 20. This unrealistic ideality of what a woman should look like creates self-loathing in girls who are perfect in their own way because they are less than the Barbie standard. World-wide, people are noticing the effects Barbie has on its children. From the UK to Australia to our very own United States, scholars and doctors have been studding the impact Barbie may have on their youth. Iran has banned Barbie dolls because of the impact it’s having on their young girls. Barbie also sets a standard of “good house wifery” and vanity.

The most popular Barbie dolls include Malibu Barbie, Barbie’s Home Kitchen and Beauty Shop Barbie; the perfect recipe for a perfect bimbo. Now – a – days, there are so many things women are capable of! It is truly disappointing to see that Barbie has such gender-specific roles in the past. Mattel has tried “upping the ante” so-to-speak by introducing new Barbie’s with little to no success. In 2008, Mattel introduced its new Barbie Line: I can B. This introduced many different careers for Barbie. Architect, computer designer, veterinarian, teacher, pastry chef, and female Olympic Sports are her newest trends. While that’s all well-and-good, the roles are still gender oriented.

All of them are care-giver roles. There is now a Facebook page for Barbie to “redeem” herself; this petition is asking Mattel to make bald Barbie’s and donate a percentage of the profit to research for childhood cancers. After 2 years and snide comments from the toy maker, news is they are finally in the planning stages for Barbie’s Bald Friend. Do we really want our children to believe that they are less than perfect the way they are? That they must be thin to be loved and appreciated? Should our young girls all just assume that the only role a woman has is to be pretty and take care of others? All people were created equal – not plastic. Society is morphed our ideology of a perfect ten from the Barbie standards. 12 year old children are considering cosmetic surgery – plastic surgery. Toys are meant to be played with – a child’s psyche is not.

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