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Dolls: The reason for body issues?

Updated on September 10, 2016

Discovering the real reason for body issues

There has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not playing with dolls at a young age has caused females to grow up believing that they have to be thin and physically beautiful. I have to say that I don’t believe that girls look at dolls and think to themselves, “Gosh, I wish I was this thin” or “I hope one day to look this beautiful”. If they do, I don’t think it lasts long; I think they soon see that in reality, dolls are simply plastic objects that were made by a company.

It makes sense though that people have come to wonder about the effect dolls have on how young women view themselves. All one has to do to be convinced that young women strive to look like the plastic toys is to go to http://www.humanbarbie.org/ . This site in my opinion is utterly disturbing and yes, sends a horrible message to young (and older) women everywhere. However, this is different than children playing and admiring dolls. Why? It’s simple, dolls are fake and again, produced by companies. On the other hand, these ‘Human Barbies’ as they are calling themselves, are real women striving to look like something that shouldn’t be taken seriously.

When I was younger and played with dolls, I never really focused on wanting to someday look like them. Sure I played house and pretended that they were getting ready for their date with Ken, but that was really the extent of it. Even if I had wished to one day be as pretty as a Barbie Doll, I don’t think that Mattel or any companies for that matter that make dolls are to blame for this. As a woman grows up, she learns from her parents, her friends, other forms of media, and most importantly, herself, how she wants to look.

The bottom line is that I don’t feel dolls are to blame for women (and men) wanting to look attractive. I think each individual takes in what is seen as “beautiful” and from there does with it what they feel is right. For example, I know that many women wear makeup and I know that’s what is sadly expected out of females. I’ve chosen not to, however, and I’m okay with that. Also, many women feel the need to be really thin. While I happen to be thin, I actually wish I weighed a little more. Not everyone has the same beauty goals for themselves and each individual had their own unique feelings on the subject of how they look. I personally don’t want to look like the “Human Barbie” and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I want to look real, not like something that was produced and sold in stores.

I think children should be allowed to play with dolls. If parents are concerned about what it might do to their child’s outlook on life, I think they should teach them that dolls are different than human beings. If a son or daughter comes to their mother or father wanting to look like a Barbie or Ken, the parent should explain that looking like a doll is not what is important in life and that really, no one expects you to look that thin or that “beautiful”. Also, it doesn’t matter what others want you to look like, but rather that you feel comfortable in your own skin. It’s important to be happy and healthy, not perfect or what is sometimes falsely viewed as such.

Dolls are often blamed for low self-esteem when it comes to body image. However, each individual has the ability to make their own decisions on how they wish to look.
Dolls are often blamed for low self-esteem when it comes to body image. However, each individual has the ability to make their own decisions on how they wish to look. | Source

Are Dolls the Reason For Low Self-Esteem?

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    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image
      Author

      Breanne Ginsburg 3 years ago

      Thanks for your comment, Paradise7! While I'm not sure I agree with you on video games, I do see where you're coming from. Not to mention, children usually stop playing with dolls early in life whereas sometimes even adults play video games. What I do agree with you on is that media is the real problem and so is men and women listening too much to what others expect or want out of them and not what they want for themselves.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      I agree with you. I think a girl can grow up thinking much more about being a good person and being good to other people, helping out somehow, and still have some fun in the early days dressing up the old Barbie doll in all those cute little outfits! What worries me more is the trend in video games of violence. That has a much more lasting and negative effect, I think. I also think the toy manufacturers are simply following media trends, and the media is the real determinant.

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image
      Author

      Breanne Ginsburg 3 years ago

      Mr. Happy,

      Thanks for the post. I think that companies that make dolls don't set out to purposely make the dolls in a way to promote the "perfect" body image. Like you said, I think that making dolls exactly how parents may want to see them would be expensive. Children need to be able to make their own decisions on how they should look and parents should teach them that inner beauty is essential. It is true that most of us care about how we look, but it is one thing to care and another to give ourselves unreasonable expectations.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I guess since they make different colour dolls, with different hair and so on, they could make them one a little different in shape than the other. I bet this has to do with cost of manufacturing a lot too though. If they would make them different shapes, they would need more molds at the factories and so on ...

      The main problem (if there are any) in my opinion is "what is sadly expected". You pointed it out very well. We expect things from others and others expect things from us and ya ... we are not who we are because we are afraid of what others will think. I call bull@^$&!! lol

      I never care what others think - I am who I am. And with that Life becomes a lot easier to deal with. More people should try this if they find that the "expectations" of others are weighing them down.

      Great hub - cheers! : )

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