The Misconception | Teen Ink

The Misconception

July 18, 2010
By sarap611 BRONZE, Winslow, Maine
sarap611 BRONZE, Winslow, Maine
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Chances are, she was one of your best friends. Whether it be on commercials, in her latest movie, or for sale on the shelves at your local toy store, she can be seen anywhere. Because of her, “beautiful” and “pink” have a new name. She’s been renown on a global scale since her first reveal in 1959 at an international toy fair. She’s as real as an imagination. Her name? Her name is Barbie.

It was 1945. Ruth and Elliot Handler were the founders of Mattel Toymakers, a popular toy company. Mrs. Handler was observing her daughter, Barbara, playing paper dolls with some friends one day. Then, SMACK! It hit her right in the face. Not the doll, the idea, the idea of a three-dimensional doll. She and her husband went on to create one of the most popular dolls in the world.

When Barbie, named after Barbara Handler, first went on the market, she had more detailed features that far surpassed any ordinary paper doll. In addition to her extremely thin figure, she had bright, red, pursed lips, skinny, arched eyebrows, and a sleek and shine to her straight, blonde hair. Barbie was simply stunning in comparison to two-dimensional paper figures. Her beauty wears the latest trends. Her clothes became what girls wanted to wear. Young girls (and the occasional boy of course) gawked at Barbie. She’s been a hit for an impressive fifty-one years and counting.

Barbie was created in hopes of changing play time and imaginations, which she did. As a result, Barbie and her packaging became the reasons for the flood of pink in the toy aisles in your local Wal-Mart. She’s the reason why I used to play using my imagination for hours on end as a child, but she’s also accountable as to why I told my mother I wanted straight, blonde hair instead of my black, curly hair. She’s the explanation as to why I told my mom I wanted my name to be Brittney. It sounded like the name of a pretty blonde like Barbie, and started with a B and ended with an “e” sound just like Barbie’s name. She was my idol who became involved in my reality, not just my imagination.

Everywhere I go, I see I’m not the only one who has fallen into this “trap” of Barbie. First, there’s the arched eyebrows that everyone desires. Women go out of their way to pluck and wax off their extra eyebrow hair. Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not saying everyone who shapes their eyebrows is doing it to be like Barbie, I’m saying that Barbie has thin arched eyebrows that have been popular for women ever since her. Then there’s her hair. Why is it that so many girls want their hair bleached or dyed blonde? People change their looks in hopes for enhancement. These are just a couple of examples of what has happened since Barbie was revealed. These actions are women and teens changing their looks based off of Barbie, because Barbie has become the definition of beauty.

Does ANYONE see the problem with this? Doesn’t anyone know that Barbie lowers the self-esteem of young girls across the world if they don’t look like her? I mean, not every girl, but plenty of them, and I was one of them. Sure, there’s Hispanic Barbie and African American Barbie, but none of us actually look like any of them. Barbie is great for the imagination, no doubt, but she’s become involved in REAL lives of REAL people, and this is a REAL problem. Barbie is a misconception. People think they have to look like her to be beautiful. She was just so beautiful to the world when they first saw her, that people thought if they tried to look like her, they’d be better off.

If Barbie had brown hair and bushy eyebrows during her first reveal, I think it’s safe to say that more people would be dyeing their hair brown and less people would be waxing their eyebrows off on a regular basis. Either way, what Barbie looks like shouldn’t matter nor effect people to the extent of altering their own looks.

We don’t all live in beach houses and we don’t all drive pink convertibles. Our children won‘t all be a little pink jeep driver named Kelly. That’s because we were not manufactured, we were born.

I’ve come to realize that looking like Barbie doesn’t necessarily mean being beautiful. Barbie isn’t even real if you don’t imagine her to be. She’s just a toy. I believe that a person is beautiful for who they are, and we should be happy with the features that we have. That means any hair color and any shape of eyebrows. It means that people don’t have to have a super skinny figure to be pretty, because we all have our own unique body shape. I also believe that Barbie doesn’t display the beauty that we all possess, which leads to despondent people who want to change their appearance. She may have certain features, but that doesn’t mean beauty is limited to her features. If Barbie is supposed to be an example of beauty, then I think everyone is a Barbie. Except we humans possess beauty beyond Barbie. That's because we can’t be found for sale on a shelf at Wal-Mart.

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This article has 4 comments.

on Jul. 24 2010 at 3:17 pm
sarap611 BRONZE, Winslow, Maine
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments
Yeah, I agree with your points.. they're something I will maybe try to add in one day. Aw, thank you for adding it to your favorites!

on Jul. 23 2010 at 3:15 pm
JustAnotherOwl SILVER, Unknown, New York
6 articles 0 photos 378 comments

Favorite Quote:
"See, we don't really care who you are;
Everyone is capable of looking up and wishing on a star.
So catch it, so contagious, this day-dreamer's disease,
And hope can be your sword, slaying darkness with belief."

"Sanctuary"- Paradise Fears

I, for one, agree completely with this article. Barbie is supposedly the picture perfect girl, but a lot of people are beautiful just by being themselves. There is one thing, though...Sometimes, people refer to people as "Barbie" if they are fake, plastic, pretending to be perfect...So it's not always a positive term and some people purposely try to be different from her. And I don't necessarily think that Barbie is responsible for women trying to enhance their appearance, but it could certainly be a factor. Very well written article! :) I added it to my favorites.

on Jul. 21 2010 at 8:34 am
I personally think you're wrong. I was raised on Barbies and never once did I want to be them. I never wanted their blond hair or their curves. Don't blame the product. Blame the enviroment. If kids are raised knowing that looks don't matter, then Barbies "perfection" will never affect them; but if they're raised where they watch "perfection" on the tv, or "perfection" in their home, or at their school, then yes, there would be a problem with Barbie. But don't blame Barbie, she's done nothing wrong. Blaming her for the world's vanity, would be like blaming a song for the singers drug doesn't work.

on Jul. 20 2010 at 9:21 pm
pageturner PLATINUM, Brooklyn, New York
34 articles 0 photos 94 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's okay to daydream.. just as long as you get to do some of those daydreams.

Too right. I'm sick of barbies. Hello, most supermodels these days aren't even blonde anyway