Life-Sized Barbie’s Bizarre Body: Eating Disorder Awareness Week

A life-sized Barbie? Beauty never looked so ugly. It”s week and to help educate people, one college student created a shocking life-sized replica of Barbie. Pretty is the last word that comes to mind when you see the doll — pretty scary is more like it.  It was built by college student Galia Slayen, who has The creation is 6 feet tall with a 39-inch bust, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips.  Slayen hopes showing the unnatural proportions of the doll will help raise awareness of the unrealistic expectations of beauty.

Slayen suffered from anorexia as a high school cheerleader; and while she admits Barbie dolls alone weren”t directly responsible for her eating disorder, playing with the “perfect” doll through her childhood probably did not help. Women are constantly being bombarded with images of perfection and unrealistic body images. Barbie is one of the most popular toys in the world, and the question remains: is it setting our little girls up for issues?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

The procedures that people torture themselves with are endless; from Botox and Restylane to facelifts and beyond, it seems to some, no amount of nip and tuck will ever make them feel better. This phenomenon is called body dysmorphic disorder or BDD.

BDD is a serious condition where people obsess on a particular physical flaw. The doctors may say they are underweight, but ask an anorexic suffering from BDD and they can only see the fat.  People with BDD may not want to look in the mirror, they may use clothes and makeup to cover up their flaws, they often times seek plastic surgery, and yet they never seem to feel pretty. Why? It’s not just that these patients are thinking about their body, it’s the side of the brain they are using to think about their body.  Dr. Jamie Feusner, a UCLA psychiatrist, conducted new research on BDD using MRI brain scans.   concluded the BDD suffers used the left — more analytical side of their brain — than the control group when looking at pictures of a face. Whereas the right side of the brain is used for seeing the whole image in its entirety, the left side of the brain is used to pick things apart and scrutinize the details.

Is there a lesson to be learned in this for all of us with body image issues? Yes, the next time you catch yourself cursing a wrinkle or daydreaming about a smaller nose, remember that you are probably hyper-critiquing that body part. You shouldn”t look through a microscope to see the world, so why would you look through a microscope to see yourself?


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