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Barbie: the bane of feminists, and why she is preferred

Barbara Millicent Roberts; Barbie

Whereas one could survey the literature on feminists’ reactions to the physical appearance of Barbie (Barbara Millicent Roberts), the following example makes unnecessary searching for other responses.

Feminists Jacqueline Urla and Alan C. Swedlund complained about Barbie’s unrealistic proportions.(1)  They could have compared her to real women in her genre, namely glamour or fashion models, but they decided to compare her to the average proportions of women in the U.S. military.  Hallelujah!  The Army recruits’ measurements averaged 35.7 – 31 – 38.1 at 5-foot-4.  This made me an 8-inch taller male, my waist circumference is 30 inches...the feminist reaction becomes clearer...have the Gods forsaken feminists?

Whereas Barbie’s hourglass proportions have been toned down since 1998, it would be unnecessary to describe how much feminists still appreciate Barbie’s looks.  Some feminists have appreciated Barbie being a career woman that remains single and has no children, but it is likely easier to ski in Hell than to find a feminist who likes Barbie’s unadulterated looks.

Barbie was derived from another very similar and popular doll, the Bild Lilli doll, which was meant for adults.  Some have tried to come up with more anatomically correct dolls for educating children, but they have nowhere been as successful as Barbie and dolls similar to her.  Some examples are shown below, including dolls that are abominable in my opinion.

Amamanta dolls

“Anatomically correct” Amamanta dolls: a teenage girl, a pregnant woman and a woman giving birth.

The depraved minds behind the Amamanta dolls have no problems with exposing children to imagery of childbirth or recommending that children as young as 3-years-old be told that a woman gets pregnant when...

“dad's penis gets into mom's vagina. Then a liquid that dad makes that is called the sperm goes from dad’s penis into mom’s vagina. The sperm reaches the egg and it becomes fertilized, or ready to become a baby.” 

Children shouldn’t be dealt with in such a straightforward manner.  I recall babysitting a friend’s kid (4- or 5-years-old) who was asking pesky questions.  So I showed him a gorilla and pointed out the gorilla's flat nose.  Then I pointed out my pointy nose and the boy’s flattened nose.  So where did he get his flattened nose from?  I told him he was picked up from the jungle and was born to gorillas; a disease had turned his skin white.  He didn’t want to believe this, but he did ask his mother whether he had a skin disease.  The important point is that he stopped asking me pesky questions.

Anyway, what explains the popularity of Barbie?  Albert Magro had drawings of parts of the human body in two formats, one slightly closer to the apes’ form and the other showing the more derived form, judged for attractiveness by 495 individuals.(2, pdf)  Most judges preferred the drawing depicting the more derived form.

Contrast an ape female with Barbie.  Barbie has many features that exaggerate the derived features of humans, and this is the reason behind her appeal.

bonobo female; Barbie

The ape female, even though posing in a seductive manner, looks very unattractive from a human perspective.

O feminist, may thee see the light.  Amen.


  1. Jacqueline Urla, Alan C. Swedlund. The Anthropometry of Barbie: Unsettling the Ideals of the Feminine Body in Popular Culture. In: Deviant Bodies: Critical Perspectives on Difference in Science and Popular Culture (Jennifer Terry, Jacqueline Urla, Eds.). Indiana University Press, 1995.
  2. Magro, A. M., Why Barbie is perceived as beautiful, Percept Mot Skills, 85, 363 (1997).


Yeah Barbie makes me seeth, cause my boyfriend looks just like GI Joe. Get real. I played with all sorts of dolls and none of them gave me any complexes. My mother was my role model in life and she always ensured I healthy body image. How? By never even mentioning the words body image.

HAHAHAHAHA!!! I would have done something similar if that little boy had been asking me questions. By the way, are you married with kids by any chance?

The Slutz - sorry - Bratz dolls seem to be preferred over Barbie, the bridge of the nose looks like the opposite of derived to to me.
The abominable dolls will be pushed onto kids ostensibly for health education- social engineering is what they are really about. The justification for exposing toddlers to sex education dolls is tarty-Bratz-Doll.html another doll

GI Joe looks like a juiced-up bouncer. That could be having an effect on body image irrespective of being mentioned.

On the other hand sometimes feminists are not alone in their concerns.
Gorillas are interesting they are polygamous, the biggest and strongest is the Mountain Gorilla - it also has the blackest face...

When I was about 4 or 5 I asked my Mother where I come from she told me the truth...

I think that I'm happy she told me the truth and none of that stork (or for you Gorilla) rubbish. Lying is not the answer, this little boy who you told that too went on thinking things that are not true.

Personally I would have just said, as I have to my younger sister, "ask mum"... it wasn't your right as a babysitter to decided what that little boy thought.

People complain about what children are being taught, maybe children need to be taught the correct thing and not lies. Parents wonder why children don't ask them about the world, well, if you lied to them when they were little then when they get older and find out the truth they are not going to want to come and ask you because they will think you will most likely lie to them like you have in the past.

You teach your children not to lie by telling them that "lying is wrong" and "the truth is always better" or "You'll get into less trouble for telling me the truth then lying and I find out". You say this, but you lie. You can't complain about Dolls being bad role models when really your just as bad. Children learn mostly from thier parents... teach them properally.

Dolls are just dolls, they don't cause bad behaviour... they are TOYS!!! FAKE!!! UNREALISTIC!!! just like a teddy bear, I don't see people complaining about them!

Roy: The popularity of the Bratz girls is not merely a function of their looks, and they have many of the same physical features as Barbie. So Magro’s argument still applies. The nose bridge doesn’t look very derived, but Barbie’s a doll and there is bound to be some cartoonish elements in her. Look at the overall appearance.

----------------Lying to children----------------

I don’t believe truth is always better and neither would I teach this to children. I believe that truth is preferable to falsehood and that lying is wrong. However, what if there is a scenario where the outcome of telling the truth leads to a wrong that is worse than the wrong of lying? In this case, my attitude is that the lesser of the two wrongs is preferable and hence I don’t believe that the truth is always better.

I also believe that the truth is bound to win in the long run and that the truth shall make us free. And if the truth is bound to win in the long run, then this goal cannot be thwarted by traversing the path of falsehood; nothing prevents one from ultimately making the truth obvious by using falsehood.

In my interactions with children, I have often caught them lying about silly matters, but my response has been “A-ha, caught you lying!” in an amused manner, which has prompted a response along the lines of “bummer!” on the part of children. It is normal for children to lie, just to experiment with what they can get away with, and my kind of attitude will prompt them to come up with more sophisticated lies, i.e., lies that they are more likely to get away with, which will come in handy in the real world when they face a scenario where the wrong of lying is preferable to the wrong resulting from telling the truth. One may argue that my parenting or child mentoring attitude may result in children developing into pathological liars, but I believe that whereas my attitude can help those toward social pathology inclined to get away with lies, it cannot orient one toward social pathology.

Children often live in a fantasy world of super heroes, fairies, gnomes and supernatural forces. They are interested in the language of fantasy, not the far duller reality of adults’ lives. My bringing in gorillas is speaking to them in a language they enjoy even though the context they find very distasteful. Why use a clinical description of how babies come about? When the time comes, they shall learn. They shall know that I lied to them and learn to not trust me blindly. This is important. Children tend to be naïve. They need to learn not to blindly believe everything they are told. They also shouldn’t be skeptical of every claim and hence end up believing hardly anything. They need to develop the ability to make a reasonable guess as to which claim is probably correct, which claim is probably false and which issues are worth spending time on doing an independent investigation because there are too many claims, too much information, but very little time. This ability takes time to develop and they had best start young. What better way to set children on this path than by using non-malicious lies like the gorilla example?

I made no claims about dolls being bad role models. I made a point about inappropriate language and a stupid tool for educating children.

I find the ape more attractive honestly. haha nah jk. Barbie has a really wide face that still seems to stay oval which is what I like. I don't like her nose though. She has no nose bridge! I dont like her small waist. I like small waists but her waist is too small.

HAHAHAHAHAAHAHA this is the funniest one of all. Everything about "Barbie" except her basketball boobs refutes everything else you wrote on your website! She has a flat face, tiny ass, long skinny legs, she is skinny and she looks like she has basketballs attached to her chest, her shoulders are extremely wide? Much wider than her hips! Take the hair away and her jawline would be what you would call "masculine" and, she has extremely high cheekbones, I mean extremely! She looks like a super skinny Heidi Klum with basketball boobs! oh, and why does she have that angry look in her eyes?

Erik, you dealt with your friend's child very inappropriately. Children should be encouraged to ask questions, not told lies to discourage a child's natural curiousity. And don't come back with some story stating that children lie too so it's okay to lie to them, and that it teaches them to be better liars themselves for certain situations. You said it yourself that "The important point is that he stopped asking me pesky questions".

Parents, should be teaching children who they can trust and who they cannot. Parents are supposed to be on the 'trust' list, as most parents intentions for their children are good, and children need to understand that any limits they place on them is for their wellbeing, and not just more 'lie games'. Parents should also be encouraging critical thinking, not by lying, but by asking their children questions about their beliefs. If they find their children are too naive, then they should address that with them is a serious and HONEST matter so that their children understand the implications of being too naive.

Being honest with a child asking serious questions about life prevents any confusion and future unlearning of false facts and relearning of the real facts. A child as young as three may not fully comprehend a realistic description of where babies come from, but they will retain some of the building blocks for future better understanding.

Tara: In the pictures, Barbie doesn’t have basketball breasts. She could be designed with more anatomically correct prominent breasts, thereby having to rely less on an expanded ribcage to present an appearance of a prominent bust, but this isn’t the point of the doll or something of much relevance to the girls to which the doll is marketed to.

Barbie does have broad shoulders, but the presumable reason is to make posing her easy. With narrower shoulders, her hips would push her hands to the side. There are many dresses for Barbie which make her hips look wider, and the broad shoulders are then in comparison hardly noticeable. The overall look is feminine. There have been many versions of Barbie. Barbie in recent years has been a teenage girl, more slender, whereas in the past Barbie was a young adult.

Barbie’s jawline isn’t masculine, she doesn’t have an angry look in her eyes and she doesn’t have high cheekbones. High cheekbones are stacked vertically high on the face, not cheekbones that are more sideways prominent. Her mid-face is flattened, but she is a doll, not a high-fidelity plastic replica of a feminine and attractive woman. There are bound to be cartoonish elements to her.

Jules: There is something known as age-appropriate knowledge. Small children should be taught in a language suited to them, and a clinical description of how babies come about isn’t it. Discouraging children from asking a few pesky questions isn’t the same as stifling their curiosity. Children ask lots of questions and I typically answer them to the best of my ability and give them more knowledge than what they expected. So my attitude encourages them to ask all sorts of questions, minus a handful of pesky ones, the answers to which they will eventually find out.

Regarding teaching children who they can trust, I will briefly state my own experiences. English is not my native language, and when I was a kid, my parents, knowing many languages, decided that it was best for them to talk in English if they wanted to hide something from me. Little did they realize that I had picked up enough English to figure out what they were saying, and boy were they saying some neat things! A few years later, when I was old enough to be taught about more serious matters, I noticed a curious phenomenon. Often I would be asked to believe in some beliefs strongly cherished by others. The confidence and tenacity with which they held these beliefs were no less remarkable than the nature of the beliefs themselves, but they refused to entertain any questioning. Very strange. A little investigation, none aided by those who would have me accept their beliefs, revealed nearly all such beliefs to be wishful thinking, malicious lies or delusions.

If I hadn’t developed healthy skepticism at an early age this site would not exist or perhaps wouldn’t appear until years from now when I am middle-aged and wiser. This site is full of items that you will not be taught about by your parents, school teachers, college professors, newspapers, television or magazines. I had to learn it on my own, and I know lots of interesting things about matters that do not concern this site.

If there are children under my care, I would want them to grow up with healthy skepticism. Most of the time I will be telling them the truth and they would know that they can generally trust me, but what is the big deal if I occasionally tell them a non-malicious lie so that they don’t blindly trust me or anyone else? I don’t have to keep telling lies. Sow the seeds of skepticism at a very early age and it will endure. After the seeds have been sown, I can tell them only the truth without the risk that they will turn into gullible individuals as adults. Some level of skepticism is healthy. It reduces the likelihood of being duped by the mass of nonsense that the mainstream media are filled with, thanks to the malicious individuals in charge.

I will provide some other examples of non-malicious lies that I have used and you tell me if they are harmful.

Boy aged two and a half years - I told him I would give him some yummy chocolate and he eagerly followed me. Then I opened a can of red kidney beans and gave him a bean to chew. He eagerly started to chew it, then spit it out. I had no luck trying to get him to chew a bean after that. On a separate occasion, I was cleaning out my shirt pocket when out popped a piece of chocolate wrapped in aluminum foil. He made a grab for it, but I got it first. I told him that it was nasty, filthy doggy poo, meant to chase the cats away, but he wanted it. I had no choice but to give it to him or he would scream. I kept saying, “Ewwwww…..doogy poo, ewwwww,” and he was a little confused. He somewhat hesitantly popped it in his mouth, and was confused that it tasted good but was it poo? He had to ask his mother, “mom, doggy poo?” His mother was not pleased. Anyway, this kid really liked me, and I wasn’t messing with him most of the time.

Boy aged eight – I was writing something on homosexuals. He asked me what I was writing, and I couldn’t really tell him. So I told him that I was writing an essay on how to deal with naughty children. He wanted to read it, and I made him read a passage on the mechanism underlying a form of brain damage that is much more prevalent among lesbians (the passage was safe because it didn’t mention lesbians). He could barely read it, but he quickly said that the passage was not about naughty children. I told him that it was but in adult language, and translated for children, it read that the best way to deal with naughty children is to spank them, and I recommend that all children should be spanked twice a day to keep them well behaving. Then I told him that this reminded me that he needs a spanking, and I made a motion to grab him, whereupon he scooted and I didn’t see him for long enough to finish the writing. That took care of the problem.

I don’t think these kinds of lies are bad. If there are children under my care, they will acquire plenty of critical thinking skills, and I will try to minimize the extent to which they acquire these skills by being spoon fed. Nothing beats figuring it out yourself.

"There is something known as age-appropriate knowledge. Small children should be taught in a language suited to them, and a clinical description of how babies come about isn’t it."

According to who? You? Children develop at different rates. If a clinical description of where babies come from is beyond their understanding, what harm will it do to them? By the age of seven, I already knew what sperm and eggs were, would recognize each in a photograph, and knew that a sperm cell fertilizes the egg to later form an embryo. Did it do me any harm to know this? Not at all. Would I have benefited from hearing a stork story instead? Of course not, it is completely useless to be taught that storks bring babies to mommies and daddies that want them.

The way you treat children is absolutely disgusting.

Jules: I don’t believe that a clinical description of how babies come about will harm children, except perhaps for the possibility that children may be prompted to think prematurely of matters pertaining to human sexuality, but why talk in such dull language to them? Make their lives a little more exciting via fantastic language. I don’t think talking about storks is harmful either. One doesn’t have to mess around with children as in some of the examples that I have provided, but it is all in jest, and the children know it.

"I don’t believe that a clinical description of how babies come about will harm children, except perhaps for the possibility that children may be prompted to think prematurely of matters pertaining to human sexuality, but why talk in such dull language to them?"

The language doesn't need to be dull, and neither should we assume that the children would find such language dull, especially if they show an interest in science as I did as a child. Besides, if the kids are asking questions it's because they want to know. If the answer is too dull for them, they will lose interest and find something else to occupy their minds.

Also, the younger children learn about sexuality the more likely they will be responsible about their own sexuality when the time comes for their bodies to be prepared for reproduction. Once a child reaches puberty (which is starting at a younger and younger age) and begins to feel sexual urges, the more likely they will give in to their urges if they do not understand why those urges are there.

lol Barbie's face shape appears to be quite broad. I believe she would look better with a less broad face? I understand that a slightly wider face can enhance one's beauty, but barbie's face would be even MORE attractive if it were a bit more delicate and less broad. It is interesting that square shoulders are attractive, because they suggest athleticism and not femininity. Also, Barbie's shoulder's are a tiny bit on the wide side relative to her hips. Wouldn't more rounded shoulders be more feminine and thus more attractive? The truth is Barbie has an hourglass shape with subtle athletic features as well. This makes her appear physically fit but still feminine. Barbie is not EXTREMELY feminine when you take all these things into consideration. Barbie's legs and breasts are most attractive on her, as well as her small waist and tiny rib cage.

I understand that certain features of Barbie are exaggarted to appear more cartoonish, however it is these exaggarations that make her more appealing as well.

Actually, Barbie is the bane of feminists because her dimensions are simply impossible for a human to have without causing severe damage to themselves :,21985,22475156-5000117,00.html

Jules: Formal education in schools about sexuality can only be presented in a neutral manner, which would be dull to pre-pubescent children.

Besides, the younger children learn about sexuality the more responsible they will be doesn’t hold. There is plenty of literature on drug abuse prevention education that has shown no benefit or enhanced drug use. When you tell people about some allegedly pleasure-inducing activities that they are not aware of, some of them will be tempted to try it. Similar literature on sexual behavior will be difficult to cite because there are too many malicious individuals in the sex education field.

Britain introduced comprehensive sex education in schools in the 1990s. Ten years after, most indices of risky sexual behaviors, STDs and teenage pregnancy increased. There could be any of a number of reasons behind the correlation, but the malicious sex educators will not consider the possibility that sex education prompted some individuals to engage in sexual practices before they would have otherwise or that sex education made them engage in practices that they would not have without hearing them talked about.

I will give you an anecdote. Once a 9-year-old girl developed a crush on me; I was 25. One day when I was in bed in shorts only, she jumped into bed with the text book that was given to her in sex education class. She opened the page that depicted a penis getting erect and started going over the explicit details, edging closer to me and giving me the look. There was no one else in the house. I made her close the book and shifted to a different topic. What if I were interested in girls her age? I could have easily taken advantage of the situation and she happened to be a good looking girl.

If you saw her you would guess she is between 8 and 11 and pre-pubescent. I doubt precocious puberty was at play. Whereas it is not unusual for 9- or 10-year-old girls to develop a crush on an adult man, it was the sex education class that provided her with the explicit book, the explicit knowledge and a means to convey her sexual interest to an adult man in a blatantly obvious manner. I fail to see any good purpose in giving such explicit sex education to pre-pubescents. If you as a parent want to provide explicit sex education to your own pre-pubescent children, you can go ahead; I have no objections. But I am not in favor of such education as part of the school curriculum.

Hotsauce: The impossibility of the dimensions is the wrong issue. What if Barbie looked like an ogre, the equivalent of a 4,000-pound human or like an ape-woman? All of these dimensions would be impossible also, but would feminists object similarly? The feminist objections are to exaggerations of some features widely considered to be attractive.

I agree, Barbie dolls are popular because they exagerate our cultural notions of feminine beauty.
While the example of the doll here does too,due to its age is more crudely made ,Barbie dolls made today are even MORE feminine ,clearly proving that most people consider femininity an ideal.
New ones have narrower rounded shoulders, small rib cage, small waist,and wide hips.

I think this Barbie looks better. I think Barbies are great and if I had daughters, they'd have tons of them. Barbie's don't give little girl complexes. Skeletal looking "supermodels" do. Long live the great and wonderful Barbie!! And Erik, I think it's perfectly ok to let kids figure things out for themselves.

And also, Erik, to your previous comment about sex-ed, when it was first introduced in the public school where I went, I was shaken and overwhelmed. Pre-pubescent sex ed is inappropriate. However, at puberty it is necessary if to teach nothing else but biological changes that take place at puberty. It's sad how many 12 year old girls had no idea of what menstruation was. Needless to say I can recall the hysteria of these girs when they did start their period, and were totally unprepared for it.

Are u stupid man ? Feminists cater to all the manliness that you are against, independence, courage, strong libido promiscuity and god knows what, it's a matter of time for them to cater for beards and mustaches

Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance, and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll's chest, which had distinct breasts. Barbie's appearance has been changed many times, most notably in 1971 when the doll's eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.

Interesting stuff! Though I don't see Barbie as being the heart of the issue of low self-esteem, anorexia, bulimia, etc., I can definitely understand why some would think so.

I was given a bunch of Barbie dolls when I was a kid. I remember looking at myself in the mirror when I was little and seeing how much was wrong with me. I'm sure just about every female can remember the shock when they looked in the mirror and realized that they didn't look like Barbie. That crushing realization that you are wrong, that you don't look the way you're supposed to. It was different back then, because I thought that I might look like that when I grew up. But then I grew up and I still didn't look the way I'm supposed to.

Feminists need to accept that if you're female and you don't look that way, you are worthless. It's THAT simple. It's nice for a feminist to think she can have career and dreams and things, but what she fails to realize is that you can't have the luxury to pursue a dream when you're not even worth anything. You have to be worth something first, and only then you can think about dreams. And to be worth anything you have to look like this website describes. Achieve perfect beauty, and then you can be worthy to pursue your dreams.

Sure all that happened. If it did, it sounds like you had severe self-esteem issues or perhaps a mental health problem. The idea that a barbie doll will cause all these problems is ludicrous.

Were you crushed when you discovered there is no Santa Claus?

No, being a sentient human being causes that problem. Barbie doesn't make me worthless, it just does the same thing thing as this website - tells exactly how I'm worthless. I don't want to be in denial about that like feminists are.

There is no such thing as self-esteem, at least not for females. Either you're beautiful and you can participate in society or you're worthless and you know it. Where is self-esteem supposed to fit in? Self-esteem is part of the feminist idea that females can go around and live their lives even if they're ugly, which is obviously just denial.

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