The barbie syndrome

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THE BARBIE & GI JOE SYNDROME An essay by Alexandra Mayoral.

Introduction Barbie Syndrome (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) is a term used to loosely describe the desire to have a physical appearance and lifestyle representative of the infamous Barbie doll. It is most often associated with pre-teen and adolescent females – teenage girls are the most affected due to the awkard and confusing states ofpuberty- but is applicable to any age group. These people will want to look her best and most beautiful to males others and believes in looking beautiful like Barbie, though Barbie has radical body proportions. (Source: www.mediaawareness.ca/english/.../body.../the_way_we_look.pdf ) When the same condition -although in a lower level- affects to males that strive to have a very charming andattractive look we will be speaking about the “Ken Doll” Syndrome. They will strive to look as attractive as Barbie's male companion, or boyfriend is presumed to be. Barbie Doll Syndrome vs. GI Joe Syndrome Children have always innately associated themselves with their toys to give them information about their own identities. This allows them to form and develop their self image at an early age. Whenplaying with Barbies, girls project their self image onto the doll in an attempt to identify with it and have been doing so since its launch in 1959. This confusion in young girls’ self perception has sparked the interest of many feminist scholars because the likelihood of having Barbie’s body shape is 1 in 100,000, but Ken’s body shape is more easily attainable (Source: Lind, Amy. "Battleground:Women, Gender, and Sexuality", Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008. As boys do not use to play with Barbies but GI Joes, the suitable name for the male version of this issue should be the GI Joe Syndrome instead of Ken. The GI Joe Syndrome According to the article GI Joe: Not a doll but (http://thebodyproject.bradley.edu/joe_barbie/index.shtml.

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First, asmost boys quickly remind you, GI Joes are not dolls. They are “action figures.” And this separate terminology reveals the very different meanings toys such as GI Joe and superhero figures convey. Typically, these toys are not designed to be dressed up and admired for their appearance. Product packaging shows them staging daring rescues and fighting battles. In stark contrast with Barbie, boys’action figures seem to teach children that: • • • Men are powerful and important. Men do great things and are recognized for their deeds. Men fight the bad guys, and protect the innocent and the weak.

And yet, recent decades have seen boys’ action figures become impossibly, even grotesquely muscular. Some recent dolls have biceps bigger than their heads as Jackkson Katz observes in hisdocumentary “Tough Guise”: ”the GI Joe doll’s biceps have been steadily enlarged over the years to the point that the figure’s body proportions are virtually impossible for any real man to attain. What’s more, Katz points out that such toys are just one source of messages in our culture that associate masculinity with violence—heroic, morally justified violence in this case, but violence nonetheless).Thus, among the potential harmful messages conveyed by action figures, we might include the following: • • Men should have large, powerful bodies with sculpted muscles. The only real men are “tough guys.”

Again, the psychological and behavioral effects of being exposed to these messages are hard to gage. However, some of the potential negative effects include • A negative body image for boys andmen, especially those labeled as “fat” or “weak,” and the development of unhealthy practices to cope with feelings of frustration and shame • The potentially life-threatening use of steroids to build muscle mass

As incidence is higher in females than in males we´d better focusing on women. The Barbie Syndrome Barbie Syndrome entered the lexicon after complaints concerning the unrealistically...
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