Barbie: Doll Of Empowerment, Or Oppression? Biography And Facts

Barbie was launched in 1959 with a certain style in mind. It was originally inspired by a doll from Germany known as Bild Lilli. While Mattel, the company behind Barbie, has many products across the world, this is one of the few that truly stands out.  Sales for the dolls have surpassed the one billion mark, so it might be worthwhile to ask whether Barbie’s a positive or negative influence on the youth.

You might be surprised to know that the history behind Barbie isn’t as glamorous as it seems. While it might be a positive role model for exercise, it sits atop a shroud of some uncomfortable subliminal messages for children and Barbie enthusiasts in general. As a powerful influence on society, it’s crucial to consider what effects she might have.

The Bright Side

The most positive messages that Barbie has for youth come from recent changes by the company. If you set the controversial issues in the past aside, there’s plenty to recognize as empowering. One instance involves career paths for young girls and women. Whereas before Barbie stood as an example for stay-at-home mothers, she now has much more variety.

Long after her launch into media outlets such as television shows, video games, and animated films, in 1987, her lifestyle had over 150 paths. The field of S.T.E.M has long been a male-dominated environment. Now, there is a multitude of S.T.E.M options for Barbie fans. She also has career paths in education, other medical fields, and the military.

Why Barbie Might be Problematic

As you likely know, Barbie has an almost physically impossible body. Her waist is overly thin, her head is disproportionate to her body, and her likeness to what some might consider perfection is a tad ridiculous. This famous doll might impact the eating habits of many girls and women as they seek to achieve a similar body style.

As time goes on, society has realized that we come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Luckily, people are pushing for more acceptance across the aisle. More importantly, this change in the ambiance around bodies can potentially save many from diets that push towards bulimia and anorexia.

Changes Over Time

Recently, the company has shown efforts to turn a new leaf. The damage already done can’t be changed, but minor and major tweaks to Barbie seem to be on the horizon.

Inclusivity is growing at the company behind Barbie. Over time they’ve started to include women of all different colors, shapes, and sizes. As the variety grows, so does the message that we’re all unique and beautiful in our own way.