Friday, 14 March 2014

Barbies: Causes for ED...?

As a little girl, I loved playing with Barbie dolls. I didn't have many, but was nonetheless fascinated by how beautiful they were. I brushed their hair, changed their clothes, and thoroughly enjoyed my time. Note: You can read more about the Barbie issue here:

You may have heard about how Barbie dolls aren't realistic in that their bodies are 'made' to be smaller than what the average female is like. There is no doubting this - Barbie dolls are, of course, not your typical female. They have ever so slight curves and slim bodies.  This has caused some distress along some people, who say that the bodies of Barbies promote unhealthy ideas about what our bodies should look like. And to some extent, I think they are right. Barbie dolls aren't accurate depictions of what most women look like. But then again, who said they were supposed to be?

As someone recovered from anorexia, I can tell you right away that I never felt angry that I didn't look like a Barbie doll. Yes, I may have compared myself to others or celebrities. But never to a doll. Why? Because my Barbie doll was a toy; it had no saying on how I felt about myself.

However, I see the point of view of others. The concern is that young girls who play with these dolls may come to think that they need to look like them. But, are Barbie dolls to blame for eating disorders and body image ideals in society? I don't think so. I believe there is so much more to this issue than we are considering. Little girls aren't surrounded by Barbie dolls their entire lives. Girls grow up in a society filled with ideas about bodies. These ideas come from other places, such as the media, their friends and role models, the opposite sex, etc.

What's the point? I think Barbie dolls aren't realistic in terms of their bodies. But at the same time, I can't say that this causes little girls to think that they have to be skinny like the dolls. Sure, it may contribute to these ideas, but dolls don't cause eating disorders. Barbie dolls are toys, and if a girl begins to feel that she wants or needs to be skinny, this is likely attributed to a variety of reasons. We can't solely blame the Barbie doll. It would be interesting to see the new proposed Barbie doll, which is supposed to have more accurate body proportions than the current one. Maybe this is a huge shift in our ideas about bodies. However, again, changing a Barbie doll's body isn't going to change the way society sees body image and beauty.

We need bigger things to happen. We need education about eating disorders, prevention, and realistic ideals. We need strategies to help redefine the way we view ourselves and our bodies. Maybe we need to help little girls see that they shouldn't compare their bodies to anyone or anything else. Maybe we need to change society's view that our bodies always need to be perfect. Maybe we need to stop thinking of what is causing the problem and instead look at why the problem even exists. is the issue that we compare our bodies to dolls or others...or is the issue that we have become 'trained' to pinpoint what we don't like in our bodies or appearances, and then stop appreciating what we love about ourselves? Food for thought? Yes. And yes, that pun was intended.


  1. I had lots of barbie and I still enjoy them and I do not blame them for my ED.Thank God and thanks to Marina I am fully recovred and I will continue enjoy my barbie!!!


  2. Very intersting post Marina
    I had dolls when I was child but not any more and I do know that ED is a very complex mental illness that We do not know clearly what exactly caused but may be multifactorial.
    I agree with you ,barbies and dolls are toys to play and have fun but not a atrigger for ED


  3. Barbie is for fun only and has nothing to do with ED


  4. cool. the doll in the pics is the new realistic Barbie. named Lammily.


  5. I think the Lammily doll is more appropriate than Barbie. If I had a little girl I would buy her Lammily over Barbie. Although I think they could have chosen a better name than Lammily.

    I don't think young women with restrictive ED are striving to look like Barbie, I really don't think Barbie is a factor in the development of ED.

    I think maybe more just an issue, with creating unrealistic perceptions about how women should look, and giving women and girls without ED poor body image. One can have poor body image and not ED.


  6. Being in your eating disorder is miserable. But so is recovery. I think once you develop an eating disorder, you have some time of misery and pain ahead of you, no matter whether you choose recovery or not.

    However, when you’re recovering, the misery has a PURPOSE. You’re fighting for something, fighting for a better life, on the other side of all that misery. When you’re fully engaged in your eating disorder, you’re just fighting for a life that gets worse and worse and more agonizing as time goes on.

    I have to remember that. Recovery is freaking hard, but I am fighting for a noble cause (finding my truth) and I will find freedom on the other side. My eating disorder offers nothing but shame, bondage, and never ending striving that comes to naught.


    1. I have been applauding Marina for her perseverance and struggle to fight off ED.
      I am now also applauding Rebecca also for this comment especially what she said "if you have to struggle and fight during recovery ,at least fighting for a noble cause ,health,wellness,identity etc.

      Kelly W

  7. I love Barbie but no way I feel associated with ED.


  8. Whether Barbie or Lamellae both have no relation to ED.
    ED is disease that in some way cause a sort of of distorted thinking and when people recover ,they think normally and see images and picture the way should be and not comparing sizes or their bodies to others .


  9. I like this post.


  10. May be all ED have poor body image but I agree with Amy one can have poor body image and not ED ,however I caution those who have poor body image not to fall into traps of ED.


  11. With recovery no matter how hard it is worth it.
    You can enjoy Barbie with recovery but when you are ill ,you will look at then with negative mirror


  12. I never had a doll or Barbie .I come from SriLanka.


  13. I can not tell you how much I like your blog.


  14. I do not remember my childhood and I do not recall my experiences with dolls and Barbie but I love your blog


  15. I like that picture and the message that We can not solve the problems using same tools as when We created them.


  16. Yes We need lots of eduaction about ED and prevention of all sort of ED and DE and We need to educate yongster that no such a thing called ideal ,all relative(relativity theory)
    There is realistic ideal as Marina mentioned and realistic expection as well but no absloutre ideal and no one is perfect and no such a thing called perfect body

    CJ(RN and CDE)

  17. I admire you for quoting Albert Inestien


  18. I enjoy reading your blog and keep up with your views and your healthy tips


  19. Yes Marina Barbies make us feel happy and We enjoy watch them and they do not cause ED


  20. Well written post Marina


  21. Barbies are cute and We love them as just barbies and not a model

    Sandra D

  22. What a lovely post !!


  23. I love Marina and her blog and also Barbie and I agree Barbies have nothing to do with ED



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