Western Barbie and Fulla Islamic Barbie Promote Unhealthy Body Image




Dear Readers,


Mike Kelly content editor over at Steps to Recovery (an addiction treatment facility in Pennsylvania) asked me to share their article on ‘Barbie promotes unhealthy body image’ with our readers. Mike and his colleague Amy worked very hard at producing this wonderful and very insightful article on the near impossible body image that Barbie dolls represent. The research article shares shocking statistics and insights of how the portrayal of a thin body image has devastating effects on young girls and women, and can sometimes lead to eating disorders. Their article talks about Muslim women and how Barbie’s BMI (Body mass index)  is in sharp contrast to their normal BMI. They also touch upon Fulla, Islamic Barbie, its influence on self image and the message it gives to Young Minds.

Over the years, I’ve learned alot about the negative influence of Media on self image. I’ve spoken to people from Mali to Indonesia to  Gulf Countries and they all say the way media represents women and body image is very intimidating to them. A Young person in Riyadh spent hours and hours watching American sitcoms and for her outward apperance became so important that her home and school life began to suffer. Her mental perception of what she really looked like became very distorted, leading her to engage in dieting and other risky behaviors. It’s very easy for people to accept media’s view of beauty and fall into the traps of eating disorders and negative body image, when they feel they don’t measure up to the impossible goal set in front of them.

We really need to to help our Young People to combat the pressures of conforming to a certain body image and in order to do that, we all need to educate ourselves on Eating Disorders and empower Young Minds to say YES to self-acceptance and no to negative body image.


Please take out Few Moments to Read this Very Insightful Article by Wonderful Amy.



Barbie Promotes Unhealthy Body Image

Although eating disorders are typically associated with girls in their teens, worryingly, a growing number of pre-teens in America and Europe are also affected by anorexia and bulimia now. As Western attitudes regarding weight and body shape are becoming more prevalent in parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa, it is possible that with time this trend will be repeated in Islamic countries as well. The media is responsible to a large extent for promoting unrealistic images of women in print and digital publications, and TV shows have a disproportionate number of slim female characters in them, so it is no wonder that older girls feel their bodies do not conform to what is expected of them and turn to restrictive diets. However, girls of just 6 or 7, who don’t read fashion magazines or watch sitcoms, are now starting to diet, so what is driving this concerning behavior? The answer could lie in the dolls they play with.

Barbie remains as popular as ever in many parts of the world and critics of the fashion doll believe she may be behind the surge in eating disorders among such young girls. Looking at the figure you can’t miss the fact that she is thin, but when you consider how her proportions would work out in real life, it is easy to see how she is nowhere near the reality of a woman’s body. Firstly, she is far taller than average at 5’9″ and weighs just 110lb, which gives her a body mass index of just 16.3, compared to the healthy BMI range of 20 to 25. Barbie’s BMI also contrasts with the typical BMI for women in Islamic regions, as for instance, around 50% of women in the Middle East have a BMI over 25. Her chest, waist and hip measurements are also far from reality, particularly her waist, which comes in at a tiny 18″. Although Fulla is the doll of choice in Islamic countries, while her chest is smaller than Barbie’s, her figure in other respects is similar. Young girls see these figures and feel that they have to be like them, even though their bodies are unobtainable.

To read more about the issue of the unrealistic images young girls are presented with, follow this link or read the article below: Starving Yourself to Achieve the Impossible Figure of Barbie.




About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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