Life Size Barbie Doll by Galia Slayen
The life size Barbie doll by Galia Slayen has created a nationwide debate about body image issues, eating disorders and it’s severe effects on adolescent and college-aged girls. Galia Slayen introduced this extreme proportioned Barbie as part of the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week to create awareness as well as to provoke further debate on eating disorders.
On Monday, MSNBC’s Today show invited Galia Slayen and Leslie Goldman, a health writer and body image expert, to talk about the Barbie.
“My goal of [creating the] Barbie is to create discussion. You can’t ignore her,” Slayer told Today.
Photo: Galia Slayen (R) displaying real life size Barbie as part of the “Get Real! Barbie Campaign” during NEDAW
Galia Slayen built the life size doll four years ago, when she was a student at Lincoln High School in Portland, Ore as part of the first National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Her own experience with eating disorders and body image, and the experiences of other adolescent- and college-aged girls, inspired her to create the life-sized Barbie.
“I was at a friend’s house and her mom’s an artist so there were all these art supplies around,” Slayen told TODAY.com. “She helped with the actual proportions.”
The life size doll looks ridiculous being 6 feet tall with a 39″ bust, 18″ waist and 33″ hips. The doll has been created from wood, chicken wire and papier mache, and is dressed in Galia Slayen’s old clothes from the high school years, when she herself was battling with anorexia.
“I’m not blaming Barbie [for my illness] — she’s one small factor, an environmental factor,” She said. “I’m blond and blue-eyed and I figured that was what I was supposed to look like. She was my idol. It impacted the way I looked at myself.”
Now a student at Hamilton College, Galia Slayen brought over the life size doll during the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week to provoke further discussion on eating disorders. All fellow students admitted they felt shame and disgrace after seeing the extreme proportions of the doll.
She also added that her views on body image as a young girl “would always come back to this ‘Barbie’-perfect,” but Galia Slayen and Leslie Goldman both agreed that in addition to Barbie, multiple other forces in society are to blame for causing eating disorders.
Galia Slayen says that “Barbie’s build helps accelerate a drive for thinness,” claiming that the doll was one of many factors in her own personal struggle with body image and an eating disorder.
“It’s Barbie; it’s diet pills; it’s airbrushed ads; it’s reality shows about plastic surgery,” said Leslie Goldman. “All of these forces kind of conspire to make young girls—and grown women—feel like garbage.”
She added that: “when family members express concerns about their own body images, young children soak that up.”
The goal in creating Barbie’s likeness was to start conversation. “Talking about eating disorders is taboo to many people, and this made people talk about it,” Slayen said. “It’s a shocking image. A lot of people have seen it, and it’s started debates,” she told the Huffington Post. “Her proportions are not 100 percent correct, but her look is not invalid.”
“As a pop-cultural icon, Barbie is often used as art to express one’s own personal opinions and views,” a Mattel spokesperson said: “Girls see female body images everywhere today and it’s critical that parents and caregivers provide perspective on what they are seeing. It’s important to remember that Barbie is a doll who stands 11.5 inches tall and weighs 7.25 ounces — she was never modeled on the proportions of a real person.”
Information contributed by Lisa Marsh
Source TODAY.com contributor
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How can we protect ourselves as well as our children from these psychological disorders? Please leave a comment below if you have any suggestions.