Did Barbie encourage dieting behavior among young children, increasing the risk of developing an eating disorder?
1965: Slumber Party Barbie shared her advice about weight loss towards children by adding a weighing scale to her assecoire set. The schale was permanently set to 50 kg/110 lbs. Furthermore, a diet book belonged to her assecoire set. The cover read: “How to lose weight” and the book contained just one instruction: “DON’T EAT!”.
Barbies weight loss book, implicitly telling young girls not to eat
Nowadays offering such assecoires to children would be unethicly and pedagogically irresponsible. We now know that Barbie has many negative psychological effects on children. Research suggests that among this group, exposure to Barbie is correlated to a feeling of body dissatisfaction, lowered body esteem, a desire to be thinner and may damage body image. Further research suggests that a relation can be found between these mental statuses and (extreme) dieting behavior, which in turn, may contribute to an increased risk of extreme dieting behaviors and eating disorders.
Todays Barbie Pyjama Doll a.o. comes with a reading lamp. Although Barbie still doesn’t quite resemble a ‘real’ woman, this is quite a progression!
Slumber Party Barbie and her scale that was permanently set to 110 lbs/50 kg