The world’s most popular blue-eyed blond will soon hit the big screen. After months of negotiations with Mattel, Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to make a live-action movie based on the infamous toy doll Barbie. After 50 years on toy shelves around the world, this is the first time a motion picture will bring Barbie to life.
Besides her flowing blond hair and bright blue eyes, Barbie is well known for her ultra svelte shape that has been debated for years. Some researchers have even argued that Barbie’s tiny waist, long legs, and ample breasts would be unsustainable if scaled to life. Other studies have found that the likelihood of a woman having Barbie’s body shape is one in 100,000. Another found that if Barbie were life size she would lack the body fat required for a woman to menstruate.
It can thus be said that Barbie’s body represents an ideal that is impossible, if not rarely, found in real life although unnaturally and perpetually sought by thousands and thousands of women – which is therein where the problem lies. For the last half-century Barbie has presented young girls with an unrealistic ideal that has created a Hollywood standard of beauty before Barbie even hit the big screen. Actresses are unnaturally thin and expected to be so in order to land distinguished roles in blockbuster movies. Women too strive to attain this impossibly thin ideal often leading to unhealthy lifestyles and crippling self-esteem.
To have a movie made in Barbie’s likeness presents an interesting challenge. How will producers cast the infamous role? Will they play up her ludicrous physique? Need only pretty, tall, skinny, chesty blondes apply?
Ludicrous physique aside, Barbie isn’t just a pretty face. Over the years she has been a doctor, surgeon, Air Force fighter pilot, movie producer, WNBA basketball player, United States Army and Navy officer, firefighter, police officer, NASCAR driver, and even a candidate for President. In doing so, she sends the message that girls can do anything – a message that makes Barbie a positive role model for girls and women alike. She has proved that a woman’s career and aspirations are important and should not be sacrificed for a relationship, even calling it quits with her own long term boyfriend Ken after 43 years.
Let’s hope it’s this image that producers keep in mind while developing the story plot – not her preposterous dimensions or excessive clothes and shoes (not to mention pink convertible). If they do we just may end up with a power house independent career-woman who doesn’t take no for an answer – but she’ll likely still be blonde, busty, and a size 2 (or smaller).