The Impact Of Barbie Doll On Children Behavior

When you’re a little girl you have nothing to worry about besides having a clean room and making good grades in school. You have to make sure you are treating your siblings fair and other people for that matter. What you don’t worry too much about is your appearance. You

have never known about makeup so you know you don’t need that. Your parents have always bought you clothes, so you don’t know about fashion. You have always eaten whatever your family has placed on the table and never had to worry if you are too skinny or too fat. What happened? When did things change? I remember turning 6 years old and receiving my first Barbie doll. Boy, was she pretty! She was the perfect height. Her hair was always so perfect and tangle free. Her makeup was placed just perfect and never faded, even when I would give her bath. Not to mention her clothes. They fit everywhere. If I wanted her to wear a crop top with her belly hanging out, it was okay because she had the perfect body for it. Barbie was perfect! Why wouldn’t you want to be just like her? Little girls play with Barbie and Ken dolls around the world. They liked to pretend that they are Barbie.

When I was a young girl I viewed Barbie as this perfect doll. A doll that I would like to be one day. She was so pretty. When reading the poem of the Barbie Doll it was then that I realized just how much Barbie Doll impacts a child life. The girl in the story was “healthy, tested intelligent, possessed strong arms and back, abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity” (Barbie Girl Poem). Everyone only seen a fat nose on thick legs. “This girl was advised to play coy, exhorted to come hearty, exercise, diet, smile, and wheedle” (Barbie Girl Poem).

Barbie was this perfect figure but did she ever eat? What did she do to keep the perfect shape?

Kelly Brownell, Melissa Naplolitano, Mongran, and Julie Van Der Feen stated that, “using hip measurements as a constant, calculations were made to determine the changes necessary for a young healthy adult woman and men to attain the same body proportions as Barbie and Ken Dolls” (Brownell, 1995). Do you wonder why children can develop eating and weight disorders and can become anorexic? Kids will stop eating in order to lose the weight to get to where they are that perfect size. This is very unhealthy and can cause them to have to seek medical help. Words can hurt. The girl in ‘Barbie doll’ had so many positive things about her but the world only seen the negative. They saw that she was overweight, not healthy looking and possibly not the cutest girl around. When you don’t think positively about yourself often times you let the words weigh on you and you start to believe them.

People often think if you are not Barbie, you are not perfect. Professor Peter Jan was teaching a class on the poem ‘Barbie Doll’. One student, a very quiet Mexican girl named Carmina stated that, “When I grew up, I had a Barbie Doll. I loved my Barbie Doll but she was white. I never had a chance to choose a Mexican Barbie” (Hongisberg). The professor told Carmina that she should “write a paper to the people at Mattel stating that she wanted a Mexican Barbie” (Hongisberg). Carmina turned down this thought “telling the professor to write it because he was white and they would listen to him” (Hongisberg). After coming to her senses with a little bribery from Honigsberg, Carmina wrote the paper, in this paper, “Carmina informed that the Barbie is blond and blue eyed and when children are small they are vulnerable and their lives reflect upon playing” (Hongisberg). You start to think you are not good enough if you don’t match the traits of the doll. She was a beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed girl. Do you not measure up if your Mexican, African American, or Indian? What is one to think? “When children are small they are vulnerable and their lives reflect on playing” (Hongisberg). Children have dreams. When children are playing with these dolls they often dream that they can be as pretty as Barbie. How does a Mexican girl compare herself to the perfect white Barbie Doll?

There are numerous woman who get cosmetic surgery every year. When you go in to have cosmetic surgery you can almost always get your body to be how you want it to be. If you want bigger boobs, a bigger butt, bigger lips, a mommy tuck, you can always get your body to appear more appealing to others. Why do these woman go and have cosmetic surgery done? Well its simple, everyone has their views on how girls should look. If you don’t measure up why not pay a couple thousand to fix that? The girl in ‘Barbie Doll’ poem “cut off her nose and her legs and offered them up” (Barbie Doll Poem). The mortician made a putty nose for the girl in the casket and everyone talked about how pretty she was. Bruce Watts claimed “for fifty-seven years, Barbie has been a global cultural icon and a source of inspiration and imagination to millions of girls around the world” (Watt, 2016). Barbie is fake. Everything about her is fake. Once the sweet girl in the poem got a fake nose everyone thought she was pretty. She had to change her appearance so the world would think she was beautiful by offering up her fat nose and thick legs.

Look at all the woman who are trying to be just like Barbie. It starts at a young age. You play with Barbie or Ken and then start to wonder how you can alter the way you look. After reading the Barbie Doll poem, I have come to realize that the world we live in today can be very judgemental. Females face judgement every day. Women aren’t just affected by the way they look but they are also judged by what a female should do. Jill Filipovic stated, “Barbie is literally an objective woman, not a superhero or an action figure but a plastic lady notable because she is pretty” (Filipovic, 2016). “There is something wrong with the overwhelming message that caring and cleaning are aspirational things for girls, often to the exclusion of exploration and invention” (Filipovic, 2016). I don’t think Barbie is the only figure that has such an impact on children. I believe that the role models the children are around play a bigger effect . In conclusion, I’d like to add that we are all created equal, each in our own image. Why tear someone down to where they want to offer up their nose and legs? When I read the article about Mattel wanting to change the image of the Barbie I couldn’t help but smile. I smile partly because I am happy that each child will now be able to have a Barbie doll that is her color, has curves or maybe even has similar traits that a little girl would have. I get sad knowing that the Barbie doll has had such an impact on so many lives to make females feel like they aren’t that pretty. With mattel changing the appearance of the doll, I feel like girls will not be so hard on themselves. They will have the perfect doll that matches them if they have curves or not. It’s easy for me to say that Barbie shouldn’t have such an impact on children but I was once that child wishing I was just like Barbie.


  1. A Barbie Doll Story [Book] / auth. Hongisberg Peter Jan. - [s.l.] : Phi Delta Kappan . - Vol. 77 : p. 252.
  2. Barbie gets wider hips, shorter legs and total make-over [Book] / auth. Watt Bruce. - [s.l.] : BusiDate, 2016. - Vol. 24 : pp. 14-15.
  3. Barbies Problem is Far Beyond Skin Deep [Book] / auth. Filipovic Jill. - [s.l.] : TIME, 2016. - Vol. 187 : p. 51.
  4. International Journal of Eating Disorders [Book] / auth. Brownell Kelly D. Napolitano, Melissa A. Mongran, Myrain. Van Der Feen, Julie. - 1995. - Vol. 18 : pp. 295-298.
  5. Barbie Doll PDF.   
01 August 2022
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