Karen Horney, Barbie Doll, Social Personality, Feminists

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Indeed, if there is only one sort of beautiful person, it contributes to increased low self-esteem in women who happen to be another type of shape or perhaps size in the “ideal” females perpetuated in the popular traditions.

According to Dank, Norton, Olds and Olive (1996), there has a lengthy association among dolls and ideal dimensions, a relationship going back to Greek moments. For example , pre-18th century plaything were created so as to reflect classically ideal proportions, and a lot of believe that the contemporary types as described in Barbie and Ashton kutcher ideals will be completely impractical, especially during a period of elevating global selection. Some research have centered on the actual physical measurements and proportions in the dolls, comparing them to adults (Dank ain al., 1996).

One such examine determined it turned out not the chest way of measuring of Barbie that was out of proportion, like a consumers and critics have got suggested; rather, it is actually her waist that is out of proportion, a waist that may be comparatively smaller than the rest of her physique (Dank ou al., 1996). It remains unclear just how these severe body dimensions are viewed by American children and what effect they can include on skin image and long lasting expectations of body style; however , some literature links excessive dieting, even to the point of anorexia, to Barbie impact at a new age (Dank et ‘s., 1996).

In accordance to Driscoll, Barbie’s effect on young girls’ perceptions of their body image is definitely manifested within an entire selection of life procedure in later years based upon these early on encounters. “Barbie might be the best clean and appropriate body which is why the girl-subject of growing up manuals really strives, nevertheless Barbie is never complete, this is why she accessorizes everything, which includes semiotic and pragmatic capabilities: occupations, people, names, ethnicities, and identities” (p. 98). The all-pervasive nature of Barbie plaything and the mother nature of the advertising associated with the product, then, always represent one of the powerful strategies by which mainstream American society continues to enforce a standard-but-virtually-unattainable version in the female body in the minds of the young girls who will inevitably purchase and get them.

Driscoll points out that although Barbie is adolescent in physiology and is static in terms of development, she “does map the construction of the physique as a space marked and crossed by simply lines of inclusion and exclusion, including puberty, and this raises the specter of Barbie’s body system image” (p. 99). The “specter” to which Driscoll refers is definitely not the Barbie doll (and her great number of accessories) by itself, but rather the standardized skin image that the girl doll itself convey to American girls.

Although her “ungainly and impossible body is certainly not a bad point, ” Driscoll suggests that “Barbie does strengthen sameness simply by association with such body norms, which will also pivotally include the ethnicity marking of Barbie’s body and her related association with the territoriality of America” (p. 99). Hesse-Biber highlights that these makes can have a profoundly adverse effect on young females in search of a sound construction in which to grow and prosper; in fact , some researchers have possibly suggested that the onset of despression symptoms and ingesting issues in young girls are the result of their poor body image. According to Rachel a. Vannatta (1997), the use of diet pills by simply women to get weight problems could possibly be symptomatic of poor body image and low self-esteem, a problem that is regularly associated with suicidal females.

Furthermore, it is in the best interests of mainstream (read “male”) world to maintain these kinds of unattainable body system images of girls since there exists a lot of money plus the power that goes with it at stake. “Because girls feel their very own bodies fail the beauty test, ” Hesse-Biber says, “American industry benefits enormously, continuously nurturing girly insecurities. Judgment patriarchal pursuits, like corporate and business culture, the standard family, the government, and the multimedia also benefit” (p. 32). While this could sound like a lot conspiratorial feminist rhetoric, mcdougal suggests that when ever women are busy aiming to manage all their body photos through diet, excessive physical exercise, and self-improvement activities, they may lose control over other essential aspects of self-hood that might raise red flags to the status quo.

Furthermore, American women tend to become influenced more by the popular attitudes relating to body image than their own colleagues. “In creating women’s concept of the ideal skin image, the ethnical mirror is somewhat more influential than the mirror highlighting peer group attitudes” (Hesse-Biber, 1997 l. 32). In accordance to research done by Cohn and Adler (1992), American women have a tendency overestimate how thin a body their male and female peers desire. “In a recently available study using body silhouettes, college students of both genders were asked to indicate a great female determine, the one that that they believed most engaging to the homosexual peer and other-sex expert. Not only performed the women select a thinner tenue than the men, but when asked to choose an individual ideal, rather than a peer ideal, the women selected an even thinner model” (Cohn Adler, 1992 p. 72).


The research showed which the implications of perpetuating idealized body photos among many American girls are deep, especially in conditions of libido and self-esteem. Beginning with Dr . Nancy Chodorow’s early focus on body image as well as its impact on female self-esteem and development, feminist authors just like Rosemary Tong, Sharlene Hesse-Biber, Catherine Driscoll and others, the growing facts suggests that girls in America keep on being subjected to powerful social and economic pushes such as Barbie dolls that create idealized yet unattainable human body images that warp their very own perceptions of what they should look like and why.


Austrian, Sonia G., education. 2002. Developmental Theories through the Life Pattern. New York: Columbia University Press.

Chodorow, Nancy. 1995. Family members Structure and female Personality. In Tong Tuana, eds., 95.

____. 78. The Duplication of Mothering: Psychoanalysis plus the Sociology of Gender. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Cohn, Lawrence D. Nancy E. Adler. 1992. Female and Men Perceptions of Ideal Body Shapes: Unbalanced Views Between Caucasian Students. Psychology of Women Quarterly, sixteen, 69-79.

Aufgrund, S., Norton, K., Olds, T., and Olive, H. (1996). Tobey maguire and Barbie at existence size. A Journal of Research, 34, 287.

Driscoll, Catherine. 2002. Girls: Female Adolescence in Popular Tradition and Ethnic Theory. New york city: Columbia University Press.

Grosz, Elizabeth. 1994. Volatile Systems: Towards a Corporeal Feminism. St . Leonards, Australia: Allen and Unwin

Hesse-Biber, Sharlene. 1997. Am i not Thin Enough Yet?: The Cult of Thinness plus the Commercialization of Identity. Nyc: Oxford University or college Press.

Irigaray, Luce. 85. This

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Category: Social problems,

Topic: Body image, Skin image,

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