She is the classic American Beauty. She is the woman, every woman dreamed of being at one point in her life. She has long, toned legs, thin waist, big breasts and great hair. She is Barbie! Even though she is only a doll, she has been America's most idolized icon for more than forty years and has affected girls in ways that human models are not capable of. She is adored especially by eight year old girls, but despised by feminists. No one can deny Barbie's unmistakable popularity. Jeanine Banks effectively uses qualitative data in "Barbie and her Consorts: Baked Barbie, Forgotten Ken and Flushed G. I. Joe" article in order to explain the impact Barbie has on women. This correlates with Naomi Wolf's argument about the way society has placed unrealistic expectations on women.
English Professor Jeanine Banks in Utah State wrote an article exploring the controversy that Barbie has sparked due to her looks. Barbie, a doll created in 1959 as a way to help "deal with changes their bodies [undergo] at puberty, such as breast development" (116) did not necessarily live up to its initiative purpose, but rather strike controversy due to the way her body looked like. Due to the mass media, Barbie's image has been evolved from having multiple careers, skin color, and many changes to the body. Where once toys used to be used strictly for entertainment, the creation of Barbie has created rather an entertaining image for men to enjoy, and pursuit of an image for women to achieve.
The ideal image that Barbie created is exactly one of the reasons that Naomi Wolf believes why women are under such extreme pressures in order to achieve the certain look of beauty. Wolf being a liberal feminist strongly believes that women are constantly tormented because they do not look like the next real life Barbie. Wolf demonstrates that the idea of beauty is a created weapon that is used to make women feel badly about themselves because realistically not everyone can live up to the ideal template, especially the Barbie one. In Beauty Myth, Wolf claims that a "girl learns that stories happen to beautiful women" (61). Theory is that you achieve everything and anything you want if you are beautiful and girls hear of these myths early from the beginning.
The claim that beautiful people achieve everything according to Naomi Wolf is relative to the fact that the beautiful Barbie has everything too. " I want to be Barbie; the bitch has everything," is stated by Banks. Barbie does have everything, from perfect body, to multiple careers, to the beautiful Ken and that is how girls are raised early from the beginning. The journey in girl's life in order to aspire to be like Barbie can be sadistic and painful, as it is not an easy image to look up to. While "men worried she would turn little girls who played with her into a generation of "independent and viperous women," (Banks 123), Wolf goes to say that it has done the exact opposite. Wolf believes that it is men who turned women to become Barbie want -to- be because since "Bitch has everything," that is what men want. They want someone who has everything from successful career, amazing body, and dedication to the household in order to take care of them.
Wolf claims that beauty is about men's "institutional power." It is ironic that Barbie was created by a women. One would think that the image of Barbie has been created by a selfish, egoistic womanizer because of the way her body looks. "The possibility of having a body shaped like Barbie's is less than one in a hundred thousand" (Banks 119). In order to become the real life Barbie, "more than $100,000" has been spent on plastic surgeries by Cindy Jackson. Having the thin waist, big boobs, and long toned legs makes girls want to become that so many suffer from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Wolf states that the Iron Maiden's body is just like Barbie's. "The anorexic may begun her journey defiant, but from the point of view of male-dominated society, she ends up as the perfect women" (Wolf 197). Women feel that losing weight and looking like the Victoria Secret model is much more important than achieving any other goal. Wolf asks, "Why do [women] feel they must treat "models"- mannequins- as if they were "models" - paradigms?" Women feel the need to idolize models because they are the ones who receive all the attention. Also that is because since the early age, ever since they were five, they were given into their hands, a doll that not only entertained them for the time being, but also unconsciously created an idea that this doll is "beauty," and in order to be beautiful one must look like that doll, and that is why "60 percent of America women have serious trouble eating" (Wolf 183). If a women were to achieve Barbie's measurements "32x17x28" she would be "clinically anorexic" (Banks 119). The race to become Barbie is furthering the epidemic of anorexia and bulimia among women instead of letting women be healthy.
Not only are little girls are handed an anorexic doll at their next Christmas, they are handed a sex symbol. At age of five, of course they do not realize this, but down the road this image is stored and will come back to haunt them in their futures. "Barbie is yet another sexualized, stock female figure."........ finish with wolf's claim about women in pornography and viewed as sex symbols.