A mindset which exists generally within American culture, and specifically with pre-teen, teen-age, and young adult women which stems from growing up with Barbie dolls and their portrayal as the symbols of ultimate beauty.

I don't remember the exact numbers, but if a Barbie doll were scaled up to the "perfect height" for women (approximately 5'10"), she'd have somthing like a 44" bustline and a 16" waist. This is inconceivably unrealistic, and yet, girls will resort to anorexic or bulemic behaviors in order to attempt to achieve similar bodyshapes simply because they've been taught that to not look like Barbie is to not be beautiful.

Men are emphatically not innocent in this tragedy, either. Having been taught to believe that this bodyshape is desirable, teen-age boys and young men believe that women are "fat" and "ugly" if they don't measure up to the standards set by this ridiculously mis-proportioned plastic thing.

Ballet choreographers and fashion designers are as much to blame for this phenomenon as the designers of the doll itself. The total effect of these factors is to force young women to starve themselves into maintaining unhealthy bodies in order to conform to a completely artificial definition of beauty that, at least in my eyes is anything but beautiful.


Segnbora-t is absolutely correct. I was on two separate, though similar, trains of thought, and made the mental leap from Barbie to heroin-chic.

To clarify:
Barbie leads young women to want to have tiny waists and huge breasts and causes men to believe this is desirable.
Heroin-chic causes young women to want to look like teen-age boys, and causes people to believe that women's clothing only looks good in size 0.

Both of these things (the Barbie Doll Mentality and the Heroin-Chic mentality) seem to me to lead to young women behaving in very unhealthy ways.

Thanks, Segnbora-t

Cardinal says: "Ballet choreographers and fashion designers are as much to blame for this phenomenon as the designers of the doll itself."

Ballet choreographers? What? Have you ever looked at a female ballet dancer? Ballet dancers do not have large breasts and commonly have waists the same size as their hips -- I recall a production of "La Bayadere" (The Temple Dancer) where the harem-style costumes had to have skin-colored straps attaching the pants to the tops, because the pants would not have stayed up by themselves. (No hourglass figures there.) They are thin because they practice constantly, hours every day (female runners are thin too) and usually short so that they won't be taller than a male partner when on their toes (a major annoyance to me). But they have dancers' muscle -- no "about to pass out from hunger" look -- and a large-breasted ballet dancer would have trouble finding a part; ballet dancers are traditionally supposed to look like fairies who don't really need to touch the ground, not sex symbols. In short, ballet dancers look absolutely nothing like Barbie and most would not get high ratings on Am I Hot Or Not for their figures, or ever appear in Playboy.

(added later) Women who've fallen prey to heroin chic only superficially resemble ballet dancers either, I think, but the parallel is closer. Ballet, however, in common with most physical sports, can lead to women doing anything to be thin, because extra flesh to move is a liability for flexibility and speed. However, a dancer who starves herself wouldn't get far -- she'd pass out on stage, if not earlier at rehearsal.

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