Friday 24 November 2017

Mary Ann Sieghart: What women see in the mirror is self-hatred ... and it’s all because of Barbie

A CUTE little naked baby is grinning at the camera. "Is this the happiest she'll ever be about her appearance?" asks the slogan on the billboard. The ad was for a UK campaign last year to save future generations of women and girls from hating their bodies. For the explosion in cosmetic surgery – and explosion of breast implants inside women's bodies – is just a symptom of a corrosive unhappiness that begins only a few years after birth.

A CUTE little naked baby is grinning at the camera. "Is this the happiest she'll ever be about her appearance?" asks the slogan on the billboard. The ad was for a UK campaign last year to save future generations of women and girls from hating their bodies. For the explosion in cosmetic surgery – and explosion of breast implants inside women's bodies – is just a symptom of a corrosive unhappiness that begins only a few years after birth.

Three psychologists have studied the effect of Barbie dolls on five- to eight-year-old girls. Barbie is ubiquitous – 99 per cent of American girls own at least one of her. Yet if Barbie were a real woman, her waist would be 39 per cent smaller than the average anorexic patient, and she would be far too thin to menstruate. Despite this skeletal state, she miraculously has big breasts. It is a body shape so unattainable that the chances of a woman naturally having her proportions are less than one in 100,000. And guess what? The girls in the study who played with Barbie became more dissatisfied with their own bodies and were more likely to say they wanted to be thinner than the girls who were given a normal-shaped doll to play with.

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