Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why Barbie is So Thin

There are many Barbie-bashers who are critical of Barbie's measurements, claiming they promote a standard of beauty that is impossible for healthy/real women to attain. This, in turn, leads to a poor self-image of their own bodies, further leading to self-esteem issues. This criticism bespeaks a lack of understanding of the realities of scale miniaturism and why "her" creators gave "her" the measurements they did.

First of all, Barbie's designers were mostly women. They had NO intention of creating a fashion icon with impossible measurements. Barbie's scale is 1:6. It was not a problem making most of her accessories to scale, but there was ONE accessory where they encountered difficulty in scale accuracy which is the main reason for her impossibly thin measurements.

Barbie was not designed to be a nude figure; she was designed to be a fashion doll. Even her breasts were shaped in a form consistent with wearing a bra. Her clothes, however, were made of fabric that was not (nor could not be) scaled down. Scalewise, it was 1:1. Barbie wearing 1:1 fabric is analogous to you or me wearing clothing that is six times thicker than normal. One seamstress I know likened it to having all of your clothing made out of wool blankets. Since their fashion doll had to look right in "her" impossibly thick clothing, they compensated for it by paring down her figure as necessary. Many redressable male figures have undergone the same process. It would seem that, in this case, clothes really DO make the (wo)man...!

Granted, her clothed physique was modeled on the ideals of living fashion models as consistent with her stated occupation, but if there be any further criticism, it should be aimed at the fashion industry, itself, instead of a representative miniature. Keep in mind, though, that that industry is staffed by a pool of real women.

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