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Barbie Designer Blames Parents For Their Daughters’ Body Image Issues, Not The Dolls

The backlash over Barbie’s body continues.

When Mattel designer Kim Culmone defended the doll’s ridiculous proportions in an interview with Fast Company, her comments renewed the debate over which toxic influence — be it parents, the media, or pre-teen-targeted toys (like Barbie or various iPhone apps) — is poisoning young girls’s perception of body image the most.

As Culmone said to Fast Co.:

“Girls view the world completely differently than grown-ups do. They don't come at it with the same angles and baggage and all that stuff that we do. Clearly, the influences for girls on those types of issues, whether it's body image or anything else, it's proven, it's peers, moms, parents, it's their social circles.”

Scholars aren’t so quick to agree, though. Although a University of Sussex study indicated that young women exposed to the Barbie doll did exhibit lower self-esteem and a greater desire to be thin, a different report from Dr. Leslie Slim of the Mayo Clinic defends Culmone’s general position that mothers are the biggest influencers in a daughter’s self-image issues (or lack thereof).

Regardless of whose side you’re on, I hope we can all agree that the Barbie is a bit too unrealistic. If you’d like your kids someday to play with a more natural and healthy-looking doll, keep an eye out for Nickolay Lamm’s hopefully-upcoming Kickstarter.

He designed a Barbie knock-off using a real teen’s measurements, and it’s looking pretty damn good.

Nickolay Lamm

Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr

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Katie Gonzalez

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Katie Gonzalez is a contributing writer covering fashion and feminism. Katie graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and currently lives in Haifa, Israel, splitting time between academic research and scouting fo ...
Katie Gonzalez is a contributing writer covering fashion and feminism. Katie graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and currently lives in Haifa, Israel, splitting time between academic research and scouting fo ...

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