The Barbie doll has been subject of parodies and controversies through the 55 years of the doll's existence. She has been subject to criticism for various reasons. In a recent study, researches at Oregon State University found that "girls who play with Barbie dolls see fewer career options for themselves than for boys."
Barbie for me, as is for most young girls, was and always will be; an iconic figure. This study suggest that playing with Barbie dolls affects and limits a girl's career choices and aspirations. But, there is no concrete evidence to substantiate these claims.
Only 37 young girls were studied, which hardly makes this study a platform for the effects playing with Barbie can have on girls. I'm sure that factors including media exposure, parents roles in their home, and religion or cultural upbringing would have a much larger chance of effecting young girls views on appropriate male or female career choices.
Personally, I think Barbie is far from "limiting". The 55 year old doll has a range of professions; from being a doctor, an astronaut, a racer car driver, a lifeguard, an Olympic gymnast, a business executive, and even a Presidential candidate. At one point these were all male dominated and gender stereotypical roles that women, or girls in this case, may not have considered pursuing otherwise.
Barbie is nothing short of inspirational. She breaks gender stereotypes and liberates young, innocent minds into believing and imagining all that they are capable of, all that they could be when they grow up.
When it comes to career choices and aspirations for young girls, Barbie dares you to dream, think big and give yourself a chance to not be bound by the societal stereotypes for gender based professions. She moves on from what are considered female-specific occupations like teachers, nurses and homemakers and sets an example. Not only does she promote making your own career choices, she encourages ambition, motivation and drive. Barbie emanates a sense of pride in being yourself, doing what you want to do, and living life on your terms.
Barbie may not be physically realistic, but to limit Barbie to her physical appearance and not consider all her accomplishments would be shameful, and shallow.
That now, would be limiting.
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!
Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!