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Is Plus Size Barbie a Good Representation of Larger Women?

December 25, 2013 2 min read

Barbie has been around for decades but she has barely changed at all, only adding new clothing and new careers to her repertoire.  But a mock up image of a plus size Barbie along side the traditional Barbie has sparked a flurry of debate online.  A whole host of articles have been written about Barbie's strange proportions and how she wouldn't even be able to hold her head up if she was a real woman.  But hey...it looks good on a doll. The facebook group, Plus Size Modeling, added the post in mid December with the attached question, "Should toy companies start making plus sized Barbie dolls?  In all honesty, we want to know..."  Since it was uploaded the picture went viral and was the recipient of most negative comments from many who felt that the doll was an inaccurate representation of curvy women.  Many users commented that the plus size doll was still promoting poor health and eating habits...just like her "traditional" counterpart. article-0-1A44E30E00000578-581_634x898 Melissa Audet added: 'I hope she comes with a blood pressure cuff to show young girls that how many chins she has is not what's important but the health issues that could come along with being this size.' The doll's chins,strangely, were the source of most of the ridicule.  Most of the commenters believed that there should be a middle ground...a body type that was healthy and attainable for the majority of women instead of promoting all kinds of eating disorders.  'Why not have a realistically proportioned Barbie that promotes healthy diet and exercise?' Michelle Ashford suggested, while Bec Bailey wrote: 'Not plus size but definitely healthy weight. A size 12-14 girl would be a great image. Too low or too high a BMI promotes unhealthy living.'  The image was produced by Worth1000.com rather than Barbie's manufacturer, Mattel, and so if the company was to consider a plus-size Barbie, it might look very different. US artist designs realistic 'Barbie' version The doll above was created by  Artist Nickolay Lamm, 24, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,  based on CDC measurements of the average 19-year-old woman, and photographed it alongside a traditional Barbie doll.  His research indicated that if Barbie were a real woman she would weight 110 pounds and have a BMI of 16.24 which fits the criteria for anorexia. And although most of the commenters on the post by Plus Sized Modeling believed a middle ground should be struck...what is that middle ground?  Is there any way to create a doll that truly represents a healthy body?  What about those naturally skinny tall girls or the ones out on the soccer field that aren't tall and have muscular bodies?  Is there anyway for a doll to really and truly be representative of the girls that play with her?

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