Thursday, 20 March 2014

Barbie, A Doll Or Much More?

Over the past few weeks I have seen a selection of images floating around on social media about a plus size Barbie doll. I personally I have refrained from putting out my opinion on the plastic figure but the more I see the image the more it gets me thinking.

Mock Up Image Of A Plus Size Barbie Beside The Standard Sized Doll

Image Taken From Google

Barbie is one of those images that we all recognise and many of us women have had a Barbie doll given to us at some point in our lives. I had a collection of them when I was younger all dressed in different styles ranging from the classic princess, secretary, mermaid and several others. The one common factor with these toys is that they seem to showcase a certain kind of beauty and sex appeal that we drum into our kids from a seriously young age. The blonde bombshell with sizeable boobs, curves and a face covered in make up are what we are used to seeing. I personally have never had an issue with the Barbie image…………...until recently.

There was an article that popped up on my Facebook news feed I have to say I was totally shocked! There is actually a woman who idolises Barbie and is planning to live on nothing other than air and sunlight! When I read the article I was startled and shocked. Valeria Lukyanova has taken her obsession with Barbie to dangerous heights.
She not only wanted to look like Barbie and does her hair and make-up in a way that makes her look artificial but she pretty much wants to be the embodiment of the character. She was recently quoted to say ‘In recent weeks I have not been hungry at all; I am hoping it’s the final stage before I can subsist on air and light alone’. For me this is seriously dangerous, this goes beyond trying to dress or do your hair like the doll but trying to have a doll like figure which I would imagine is seriously damaging to her physical and mental health.

Here are just a couple of pictures of Valeria Lukyanova.
The Ukranian Model who has been dubbed "The Real Life Barbie Doll"

Images Taken From Google

Barbie has for a long time been a figure of inspiration for women who are aiming to achieve a certain image. I don’t have any issue with that but I do have an issue when it starts to become dangerous. I would hate to think of girls curled over the toilet bowl in their bathroom doing harm to themselves to reach an ideal that was set by a plastic doll. Image is so much more than the way we look. We can be affected emotionally and mentally by trying to reach certain standards set by our society and as I have previously stated on other posts, I think the most important thing is to focus on our health and fitness.

Earlier on in this post I previously touched on the current conversation circulating social media about the idea of a possible plus size Barbie doll. When the mock up image of the plus size doll featured next to the standard doll first surfaced online, it got some seriously strong reactions! Many people have been wondering if toy companies should join in the debate about image and size by creating larger sized toys, or if they should remain as they are and continue to conduct business in the way that they have been for many years.
The doll had people up in arms as many felt that it was promoting an unhealthy lifestyle to our kids. Some felt that the look and image of the doll was a bad representation of what some bigger women look like. A common view was that the double chin on the figure was taking things a bit far and that perhaps a happy medium could be reached. Why not create a doll of slightly larger proportions to the current doll that we have without the image that the plus size toy presented?

For me the whole thing has got me thinking about what images we push forward to the children of today and how it impacts their thoughts when it comes to their own self worth and body image. 
As you know I am all for being happy and confident no matter how you look and I think  that perhaps if we did have more toys of different colors and sizes there may not be such a rigid ideal set forward as to what constitutes as beautiful. After all don’t we all have different tastes when it comes to beauty?

I would imagine that trying to promote a healthy body image for a toy company might be a tough thing for them to achieve. The Barbie doll is distributed worldwide and each country has different statistics for their average dress size. I think that either way the focus should always be on health and fitness. I guess what alarms me is that something I always considered a simple toy comes with a lot of extra baggage related to image and beauty. 

I would be interested to hear what you think about the subject so please drop me a message or comment below.


  1. I have seen her on the internet before and I would hazard a guess that some of the photos are photoshopped as well to give her an even more doll like appearance. Barbie has always been the subject of controversy even when I was young I had a Sindy doll rather than Barbie as I think my mum thought Sindy was more appropriate! x

    1. I agree I think the image is photoshopped. I am curious to know why some women think we need to have a plus size alternative for Barbie.

      I remember Sindy, she was always seen as Barbie's rival...

  2. Wow.... that woman is just wow! I thought it was a picture not a real person! I like the way the barbies feet are the same size!

    This is just an interesting subject and one of those you could talk about for hours. A part of me thinks YES! Lets go against the grain and create all different size dolls and toys etc. Then I think, well if we could teach children that what they see is not always to be aimed for. If Barbie was real, as the statistics go she wouldnt even be able to balance and would fall over!

    Then I think, if we all just forgot about what things 'represent' and let the judgements go... Barbie could be green on wheels... it actually wouldnt matter.

    So much to think about... I just remember playing with the hair and getting bored with the clothes she had. I never remember thinking I want to look like her when I grow up.... x

    1. I agree this is one we could talk about all night!

      I too was more focused on the hair and clothes and I always saw her for what she was, a doll.

      I don't understand how or why some people are managing. To make a roll model out of a doll and I my opinion I think that is a more worrying idea...

  3. I loved Barbie dolls growing up - but it didn't even cross my mind that a real person should or could look like that. I do remember admiring celebrities like the Spice Girls, as well as my friends' big sisters - I suppose that they could have been considered my role models, but Barbie was clearly just a toy. Sure, there are some isolated cases who take the Barbie obsession too far, such as the girl you mention...but then again, there are girls who go through surgery to look like Britney Spears. I think most kids realize the difference between dolls and real people quite early on. While I do wish they would make Barbie a bit more realistic, I won't worry too much if I one day have a daughter and she wants to play with Barbie dolls.

    1. I'm kind of in the same mind set as you about this one Hanna. I too used to look up at celebrities and stuff but never to the point where I tried to look like them or anything. I find it odd that so many people seem to think that a doll can be a role model which is why I asked the question 'Is Barbie a doll or much more?'. It's nice to know that I'm not alone is seeing it as nothing more than a toy.

  4. I was bored one night and watched a few of this woman's You Tube videos and it's a bit weirder than you may think. She's actually apart of a non-religious but spiritual-based following who believes in out-of-body experiences, time travel and traveling through the world (in spirit form). She states she is taking on the image of Barbie in an effort to convert others to her spiritual path. I usually don't think things people do are weird...but she's pretty damn weird.

    1. Hi Sheena.

      I stumbled over some clips of her on youtube when I read the initial article and it was one of the things that prompted me to write this post.

      As there is talk about the possible plus size doll it got me thinking about role models and figures etc. I am flabbergasted that people can find inspiration in a plastic figurine, so much so that they are trying to live their life like one.......