When Hamilton College announced its first-ever National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, student and anorexia survivor Galia Slayen created a life-sized Barbie that was recreated based on the doll's measurements.
This Barbie with "actual proportions" stands six feet tall with a 39" bust, 18" waist, 33" hips and wears a size 00 skirt — a remnant from Slayen's one-year battle with anorexia. As a child, she looked up to Barbie, saying "I'm blond and blue-eyed and I figured that [Barbie] was what I was supposed to look like. She was my idol. It impacted the way I looked at myself."
Neither Slayen nor the body image experts on the Today Show put the blame for eating disorders completely on the doll; Slayen repeatedly notes, "I think Barbie is just one factor of many." Still, Mattel released an official statement on Slayen's "Get Real Barbie" project:
"As a pop-cultural icon, Barbie is often used as art to express one's own personal opinions and views. Girls see female body images everywhere today and it's critical that parents and caregivers provide perspective on what they are seeing. It's important to remember that Barbie is a doll who stands 11.5 inches tall and weights 7.25 ounces — she was never modeled on the proportions of a real person."
But just because she's not real doesn't mean she doesn't have a real impact.
Life-Size Barbie Gets Real Women Talking [Today]