When you look at the image above … does something look wrong? I sure hope so! The picture shows the outcome of Hamilton College student Lisa Slayen’s project to show what a Barbie doll scaled to life-size would look like in terms of proportions. From the article:
Life-size Barbie stands about 6 feet tall with a 39″ bust, 18″ waist and 33″ hips. She is made of wood, chicken wire and papier-mache, and is dressed in a size 00 skirt that was a remnant from Slayen’s one-year bout with anorexia.
“I’m not blaming Barbie [for my illness] — she’s one small factor, an environmental factor,” Slayen said. “I’m blond and blue-eyed and I figured that was what I was supposed to look like. She was my idol. It impacted the way I looked at myself.”
The goal in creating Barbie’s likeness was to start conversation. “Talking about eating disorders is taboo to many people, and this made people talk about it,” Slayen said. “It’s a shocking image. A lot of people have seen it, and it’s started debates,” she said, particularly after she wrote about it for the Huffington Post. “Her proportions are not 100 percent correct, but her look is not invalid.”
I had seen this when it surfaced a few weeks ago and thought about how tragic it is that young women are seeing these body images everywhere and having it impact their sense of self-worth to the point that they are getting plastic surgery while still developing, and continuing to ‘perfect’ themselves time and time again.
What triggered the image again in my mind was the image below, contrasting the image of Pippa Middleton from the recent royal wedding to one of Kim Kardashian:
From an article at TheGloss, the author notes how “Pippa retains a certain naturalness, that Kim and her ilk inevitably, come 28 or 30, chip away at, one shot of Botox at a time.”
She goes further looking at the impact of the unrealistic expectations on young women like Kardashian, who reportedly have grown up in an environment that pushes them into having plastic surgery from a young age.
There are a couple of sad things about this. One is that Kim is a natural beauty, too, but now all I can see when I look at her is a face full of rat poison and tits pushed up to her chin and a layer of makeup so think you could probably drag a blade through it without puncturing the skin, and of course that unmistakable air of panic beginning to hover around her that says, oh god oh god oh god I’m getting OLD, and I’m in Hollywood.
The other sad thing is that I doubt I would have noticed all this if her picture hadn’t been juxtaposed with Pippa’s. At this point, similar images of similar plastic upon plastic upon shoved-into-dresses women are seared so permanently into my retinas that they barely register.
Since the royal wedding there has been loads of attention on Pippa Middleton in terms of how beautiful she is, but also as a natural, free-spirit. I think that is wonderful for her – though I am sure she wouldn’t mind getting things dialed back a bit! I hope that young women looking at her in terms of emulating her look notice not just that she is beautiful, but that she is NOT PERFECT! And … that is FINE!