Friday, August 11, 2017

August Reboot Series - The Barbie Factor

This month I'm going to be doing some re-posting of older blog posts. Some like this one will have updates included as when I reread I often realize I've learned something new since the original post went up.  I hope to have all new interviews every Friday but many Pros take the month of August off and in past years I haven't always been able to get enough interviews back to fill all the August dates.  (As predicted I sent out a much higher number than usual of interview invitations but I don't yet have a new one to post.) 

Several years ago I spoke at my guild about Knitters and body image. I want to share a little of that presentation because I know many knitters who, due to body image issues, won’t knit garments for themselves. 

Body image refers to a person's perception of their own physical appearance. It describes how one perceives one's appearance to be to others, which in many cases may be dramatically different from one's objective physical condition or how one is actually perceived by others. Many people are so overcome by body loathing that the other amazing dimensions of who they are simply fade away and they negate attributes like exceptional talent, stellar careers and strong loving relationships.

Did you grow up playing with Barbie dolls? I did, so I thought that that’s what grown up women are supposed to look like. Researchers generated a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions and they said that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her torso would be too narrow to contain her organs.

Jill Barad who was the president of Mattel until 2000 estimated that 99% of girls aged 3 to 10 years old own at least one Barbie doll.

Today, whether or not to give little girls Barbie dolls is often hotly debated by many mothers who believe that they foster poor body image. Take a look at the image below. The real woman is shown as 5’4”, 145 pounds, with measurements of 36" 30" 39". Barbie is depicted with an 1 inch smaller bust but maintaining the proportions of a real woman. She then becomes 6' with the measurements of 35",19", 33". Unfortunately we incorporate these images in our view of the world and then apply negative comparisons to ourselves.

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