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Women Do Not Need to Be Barbie to Be Pretty

We live in a society where there are so many expectations to be and act a certain way. Throughout history, women have had to uphold many strict expectations – mostly forced onto them by men. A woman’s worth is often measured by how much she can serve a man and her house by cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids. However, the most important thing for women in our society is their appearance. We are often bound by how people expect us to look, and if we don’t look a certain way then we are unworthy. 

Many things have influenced this phenomenon to create an unrealistic reality that tries to force women into a box. Be pretty, they say. Be skinny and tall. Dress a certain way – attractive but not too slutty. Wear the wrong thing and you will be shamed for not being pretty enough or for being “too appealing to men.” There is no happy medium or any way that any woman can fully meet the expectations put on them by society. 

Many girls grew up being indoctrinated by these beliefs, mostly by a very specific childhood toy: the Barbie. Almost every girl grew up with at least one of these dolls. For the longest time, the Barbie doll had one specific look: she was tall, blonde, and skinny. Her proportions were not at all possible for the average person, but she put forth this idea that everyone should look like her. 

In reality, no one could actually be a Barbie, or at least look like a Barbie. More importantly though, it gave the appearance that the only way to be pretty was to be tall, skinny, and blonde. Not a lot of people actually fill all three of those qualifications. It is almost impossible to be all three at once. 

Many girls grew up thinking they had to fulfill all of the “requirements” to be pretty, or to at least appear pretty. Because of this, many girls feel like they need to physically change who they are to appear the prettiest and most attractive they can. 

Ultimately, we need to change how we describe and portray prettiness. We need to teach our kids from a young age that they don’t need to change or be a certain way to be seen as beautiful by the world. They don’t have to meet certain standards that Barbie has put in place. Creating and enforcing these unnecessary and unrealistic standards has caused so many girls so much pain. There is so much pressure on them that they often turn to harming themselves in different ways or changing themselves to try to fit into the world. When they don’t feel like they match the standards and want to change themselves, it is extremely harmful. 

That’s why we have to change. We have to teach our young girls that it is okay to be themselves, and that they never need to change for the world – and surely not for a man’s standards. 

Now, Barbie has tried to adapt to the changing world. As more people try to redefine beauty and to ensure that all girls know they are beautiful in their own way, Barbie has created new dolls. There have been a variety of new additions of Barbie dolls, including curvy Barbies and different colored hair. They make them to show off every kind of girl in every shape and size. 

Girls should have a Barbie to look at where they can see themselves and feel empowered. Barbie is trying to make campaigns that make girls feel empowered and remind them that they can be and do anything they want. They want girls to start feeling like they can be anyone they want and that the world will support them. 

It’s time we stop setting these unrealistic standards for girls and have them be confident in who they are.

Julianne is a Junior at Adelphi University. She is a mathematics major and in the STEP education program. She is apart of the Her Campus, GSA, and Future Teacher's Association clubs at her university. She likes to write, bake, and travel.
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