A picture of a plus-size Barbie doll posted on Facebook has sparked a major debate over body image.
The image, which was created by artist bakalia for an illustration contest in 2011, was posted to Plus-Size-Modeling.com’s Facebook page with the question, “Should toy companies start making Plus Sized Barbie dolls?” The photo — which features a thicker Barbie with multiple chins — received over 40,000 likes, but also received a number of comments saying the doll did not represent what a plus size woman looks like. Others said that an “average” or “healthier” doll would be a better option.
“Portraying Barbie as a realistic Women with real curves is a very good idea and would send the right message to young girls about self esteem. Making a morbidly obese Barbie is BAD,” one commenter wrote.
“So the choice is anorexic barbie or obese barbie? Good one,” another wrote.
“More curve, less chins,” another commenter wrote.
Other commenters suggested that there should be a curvy, in between Barbie that was neither fat nor skinny. Still others thought that the doll should reflect the size of the average American woman, which is a 14 or 16.
Earlier this year, artist Nickolay Lamm of MyDeals.com used CDC measurements of the average 19-year-old woman to create a 3-D model of what a Barbie would look like using realistic proportions. The doll was a little shorter and wider than a normal Barbie doll.
“If we criticize skinny models, we should at least be open to the possibility that Barbie may negatively influence young girls as well,” Lamm told The Huffington Post.“Furthermore, a realistically proportioned Barbie actually looks pretty good.”
Lamm added, “If there’s even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks good as an average-sized woman in America, what’s stopping Mattel from making one?”
Should toy companies make plus-size Barbie dolls, or should they focus on making dolls that are “healthy”?