Thursday, April 2, 2009

OCD & The Barbie Doll

When I was a child, my mother bought a Barbie doll for me. She was the only doll that I liked and the only one allowed in my room. Barbie was cool and had a boyfriend named Ken, who obviously adored her. Barbie had the nicest clothes, which you could purchase separately, and you could pick out what she would wear for her dates with Ken. Barbie had her own case, which I locked up every night.

When I was a child, Barbie was all the rage. I even had a Barbie game, where you could double date with Barbie, Ken and Poindexter, who I thought was geeky. Unlike many other toys who have been around for a long time, Barbie never lost her popularity. She has grown into a mega-bucks industry. Barbie just celebrated her 50th birthday on March 9, and she is still the top-selling toy in the United States, especially with girls under the age of 6. In today’s times, this could be a mixed blessing.

When I was a child, plastic surgery wasn’t a viable option for most of the population, and was considered a practice mostly for the rich and famous. As children, we were not bombarded with TV and magazine ads of perfect women, and the expectations for physical perfection were nowhere like they are today. We enjoyed our Barbie’s without anxiety. Now, little girls under the age of 6 are led to believe that this is what they should look like when they grow up. And it’s not just Barbie, it’s mostly everything their environment is being bombarded with – TV, magazines, movies, etc. I think this is fertile ground for OCD, body dimorphic disorders, and eating disorders.

Today, there is something known as the “Barbie Syndrome,” which is an actual disorder. I have seen TV shows and read articles about women who undergo drastic surgeries in order to look like Barbie. I saw a show about a woman, Cindy Jackson, who has had plastic surgery 47 times in order to look like a Barbie doll . “Toy manufacturers set this expectation by developing and marketing the Barbie doll, whose measurements are physiologically impossible," say Jennifer Derenne, M.D., and Eugene Beresin, M.D., in the journal 'Academic Psychiatry.' "With increased availability of plastic surgery, today's women are faced with similarly unrealistic expectations every time they open a fashion magazine. A growing number of girls are experiencing this pressure to be beautiful, have a perfect body and a boyfriend from very young ages. Unfortunately, this is becoming a bad part of our culture.

I hope that these false expectations can be removed from the minds of little girls in today’s society, and they could just go back to playing and relaxing, and being kids again. I think if that were the case, many mental disorders could be avoided.

1 comment:

jenflora said...

I never really liked barbie as a kid. She was a beautiful blonde with big boobs and I was a chubby brunette with freckles