Barbie is a toy, not an “ideal”

Let’s talk about model Katie Halchishick for a moment shall we? She is size 10 and is marketed as “plus sized”. She has started her own modeling agency, and it’s motto is “healthy is the new skinny”. She is very pretty, you know, for a “fat” person:


Anyway, to she speaks out, vehemently, about eating disorders and the link with fashion images. To help prove a point, she posed nude in O magazine covered in dotted lines depicting the kind of changes she would need to look “ideal”, like a Barbie Doll.


Let’s all gaze upon this picture and realize the insistence that ultra-skinny is the only possible form of female beauty is bullshit. Especially when it is almost certain models have been pushed to lose weight beyond what is bearable for their physical and mental health, as I suspect has happened to this woman:


Or photoshopped until you are no longer human, but a cartoon with a waist just a tad bigger than your neck instead:


It is human nature to want to be attractive to other members of our species. I want to be attractive. I am sure my daughters will want to be attractive. I would much rather they be able to look at their normal-sized bodies (or bigger, if that’s where it goes) and find their own prettiness than to think they are “fat” at a size 4. I call shenanigans (again) on the cultural onus on women to damn near disappear, becoming wisps of fragile and skeletal humans, in order to be ‘pretty’. 

While I am at it, I call shenanigans on the “white” ideal, too. She is lovely …


even though she doesn’t look a damn thing like Barbie.

About Betty Fokker

I'm a stay-at-home feminist mom.
This entry was posted in are you kidding me with this shit?, daughters, fat hating, Feminism, shit I think y'all should know. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Barbie is a toy, not an “ideal”

  1. Women can be beautiful at any size. I’m not entirely sure why the industry pushes such thin ideals. I think it could be something to do with their sales depends upon creating envy and desire out of their consumers. Like, the high fashion world is some kind of an exclusive VIP club where only the tallest, thinnest, and those with excellent bone structure get in, so if young women sitting at home thought it to be easy to look like that, then there wouldn’t be that envy or desire to run out to get thin and buy their products. Maybe that’s totally wrong, but it’s the only thing I can figure.

  2. Sonja Foust says:

    Thanks for posting these. Love the one with the Barbie doll lines on it. I’d seen it before, and it makes a point.

  3. robenagrant says:

    Thanks for the post, BF. I hate to see those emaciated women and can’t help but wonder how many lettuce leaves they eat per day. Or how many trips they make to the bathroom. I know some women are naturally tiny but that photo looks like extreme measures to me. It isn’t natural and I think it’s sad for women to conform to something that they think men, or society in general, deem attractive. I love Katie. Love “healthy is the new skinny.”

  4. I have the same hopes for my baby girl. I played with barbies and used them as actors in melodramatic plots I devised and wrapped them artfully in my grandma’s fabric scraps and pretended i was a fashion designer. I knew it was a toy with exaggerated proportions. And I agree wholeheartedly on the media perpetuated white ideal…when we watched monsoon wedding dh and i kept exclaiming Why are all the women in india sooo gorgeous? The different kinds of beauty are amazing.

  5. Robin S. says:

    ‘Healthy is the new skinny.’ I would love to see this become the norm.

  6. Alis says:

    I saw the Barbie-surgery photo in another article and there was a terribly depressing response in the comments where a younger woman said something along the lines of, “If *she* has to have all those changes to be pretty, what hope do *I* have?”

    Totally missed the point and ended up feeling worse about herself, not better. The world is too, too screwed up.

  7. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Placing the emaciated model in the middle of the other photos really made a big point. Namely, what guy in his right mind would want to sleep with a bundle of bones?? Seriously. It would be like being in bed with a skeleton (ick). The other women look so wonderful in comparison — particularly the black gal in the last photo (maybe it’s mostly because she has that terrific “hey, I’m gorgeous and you better believe it” look in her eyes).

    I mean, okay, I am not a guy and I am not lesbian — but I don’t think it takes much of a stretch of the imagination to figure out which of these women are sexy and which are sick.

    (BTW, photoshopping should really be banned — it is making us all sick!)

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