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Barbie Hits the Big Screen

Barbie Hits the Big Screen

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).

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Getty Images - http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/09/finally_a_barbie_movie.html 

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22 comments

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6:52AM PDT on Oct 15, 2009

makeover.

6:50AM PDT on Oct 15, 2009

Sorry but I have to agree with the poster on this. I had Barbie dolls growing up... as a young girl with brown hair, brown eyes, and an imperfect figure... I felt that I would not be pretty unless I looked like Barbie. I felt inferior because she was not "just a doll," she was (and is) a symbol of what the idea of beauty is, and that ideal is taken to heart by many, whether consciously or subconsciously. She had the perfect figure... the blonde hair... the blue eyes. She is a role model, an "American Icon." Many of you have said this... tell me, how many girls want to be like their role models or icons? Isn't that the whole reason for commercials, to convince of what we need to be, buy, or look like? You can't tell me that subtle programming, EVEN IN A CUTE LITTLE DOLL, doesn't take its toll. Research proves otherwise. I can't believe so many people are blinded to this.

No offense against those who are blonde and thin, but if you notice with these dolls, it is always the curvy blonde, white girl who's the center of attention, and everyone else (different hair color, different race) is just a "friend" but it's "all about her." Honestly, what kind of message do YOU think this sends to girls? No matter what new "type" of Barbie comes out, it's always the same song & dance. It's never an ethnic barbie who's the center of attention, or a brunette or a redhead, with just blonde friends. So lay off the insults to the OP, she has a great point. Barbie needs a make

9:56AM PDT on Oct 1, 2009

Oh, boo freaking hoo... The reason Barbie is popular is because girls like her enough to make her an icon over generations, not because the so-called patriarchy forces girls to buy her. Find almost any issue and feminists will use it to show how horribly victimized women are, which naturally leads the question of how people who are perpetual victims despite mountains of legislation (in the USA) gives them not only equality, but ample advantage, can possibly be considered equal. In the short space I have here, I'll give a few examples. There are grants, scholarships, and loans available to females, but not males. All-female universities are allowed, but not all-male universities. The Los Angeles Police Department requires its male officers to be able to do a certain number of push-ups, but females are not required to do ANY. So, yes, I'm all in favor of equal treatment under the law regardless of gender.

Oh, and back to toys: ever notice how boys' action figures tend to be impossibly muscular male figures, the proportions of which could not even be approached by any body-builder or weight-lifter, yet men don't go whining about it ad nauseum?

2:31PM PDT on Sep 29, 2009

Dolls don't influence children, parents have the greatest influence on children. If you have a good parent, Barbie will just be a doll to play with for a little while, and then to collect dust in your closet, along with all of your other childhood toys and books, until you yourself have children.

8:01PM PDT on Sep 28, 2009

It was suppose to be pink dress with the white mink..I love to dress them and brush their hair..It is just plain old fun...The Barbie Movies they have out are cute..I buy them for my granddaughter and we watch them together...They are good storylines...taking old fairy tales and adding a voice and a face to it.

8:01PM PDT on Sep 28, 2009

I can't believe you are writing about such KRAP!

7:52PM PDT on Sep 28, 2009

OMG I cannot believe that the Barbie Doll is under fire on here when there is so much more in the world that should be.I had several Barbie dolls when I was growing up and I never had the thought in my mind that I should look like that when I was bigger..oops older...any person that trashes a doll has no confidence in themselves..I still have Barbie Dolls..I have Rapunzel,Princess Barbie, Mermaid Barbie,I have one of the Avon Barbies, one of the Nascar 50th Anniversary Barbie's and I also have The Silken Flame Barbie, which is in the pic above on the right behind the Barbie with the pinl dress and white mink, and I also have the Barbie loves Elvis Barbie. My niece bought me Princess Barbie for my birthday 10 yrs. ago, and my daughters bought me the Silken Flame Barbie for Valentine's day 12 yrs. ago. These are dolls...just plain dolls..I ain't no ravishing beauty, never was, never will be..but I would never trash the Barbie Doll..She is an American Icon and a beautiful one at that...Looks like some people have some growing up to do still...At 57 yrs. young..I still look for Barbies to add to my collection..and I do play with them with my granddaughters. And my daughters had them also...

4:39PM PDT on Sep 28, 2009

The problem with this doll is that its intention is to be a symbol. It is "beautiful". Women generally seek to be beautiful or look good (which is not my case). If that is the image of beauty with which girls grow, that's the image that they probably want to have, although it is almost impossible to get. It is very simple.
However, must be rescued the efforts that have been made recently to include other cultures and races in that image, and of course the fact of have given Barbie the choice of practicing any job.
But that's not enough. Barbie is a bestseller, and its influence is too great to spread like this its support to this horrible ideal.
The film could be used to reverse this situation and spread "more ideal" ideals..

4:38PM PDT on Sep 28, 2009

El problema de esta muñeca es que su intención es ser un símbolo. Es "linda". Las mujeres en general buscamos ser lindas, o vernos bien (lo cual no es mi caso). Si esa es la imagen de belleza con la que se crece, esa es la imagen que muy probablemente se busque, a pesar de que es casi imposible de conseguir. Es muy simple.
Hay que rescatar sin embargo los esfuerzos que últimamente se han hecho por incluir en esa imagen a otras culturas y razas, y por supuesto el haberle dado a Barbie la posibilidad de elegir cualquier trabajo.
Pero eso no es suficiente. Barbie es una superventas, y su influencia es demasiado grande para permitirse el lujo de difundir con su ayuda este ideal tan horrible.
La película podría usarse para revertir esta situación y difundir ideales más "ideales", valga la redundancia..

1:53PM PDT on Sep 28, 2009

I will salute that Barbie, despite being the "ultimate woman," has done a lot, but she does not represent a good image of what a real woman should look like, even the newer more realistic-looking barbies are still too thin.

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