Once again, Barbie is at the center of the latest body image debate, according to The Huffington Post. The website Plus-Size-Modeling.com recently asked their Facebook fans a question: “Should toy companies start making Plus Sized Barbie dolls?” and next to the poll question was an artist’s creation of a plus-sized Barbie.
While more than 35,000 people hit the “Like” button, numerous others voiced their disgust about this bigger Barbie:
“Sure, but Barbie doesn't need a double chin. You can be 'plus size' w/o the double chin. They could make a 'thick' Barbie.”
“This is not what plus size women look like. This doll is a terrible impression of a plus size woman.”
“That Barbie is not plus size, it's obese.”
However, the majority of the comments offered a solution: Why not promote a healthy Barbie—a doll with the average proportions of a “typical” female in the 21st century?
”Average size these days is 14-16. A doll that shows real life perspective, rather than the ideal unhealthy weight like 0 or unhealthy negative display of obese [sic] is a better more healthy approach. Girls need to know, pole size is unhealthy and being an average weight isn’t a bad thing at all….”
“Not in a way to say that obesity is ok but they should make them in different healthy shapes & sizes—thick, curvaceous, thin sporty, short, tall—etc kids need to know from a young age that we are all different & we are all beautiful instead of having pressure put on them that they should fit into the mould [sic] that is 'acceptable' !!!”
I’m siding with the majority. Super-thin Barbie can be damaging to the little minds that have become too preoccupied by their figures. According to the Keep It Real campaign (a joint effort between Miss Representation, the SPARK Movement, Love Social, Endangered Bodies and I Am That Girl), about 80 percent of 10-year-old girls have dieted at least once and up to 60 percent of children ages 6 through 12 are concerned about the number on the scale. Barbie may not be the cause, but she may very well be a symptom.
Perhaps one Facebooker had the ideal response: “…maybe if children (and adults for that matter!!) spent less time INSIDE, obsessing about what size BARBIE is?? (I mean, really?!) and spent more time outside exercising, the discussion of "Overweight Barbie" wouldn't even have to exist!!”
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.