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Plus-sized fuss: Double-chinned Barbie raises ire

NEED TO KNOW
  • How 'real' should dolls be? Pic on Facebook stirs online debate over obesity, health
  • Company’s plus-sized photo of Barbie has supporters, critics
  • Blogger to HLN: 'We are putting way too much blame on a doll'
Plus-sized fuss: Double-chinned Barbie raises ire

Plus-sized Barbie: A healthy image for girls?

Plus-sized Barbie: A healthy image for girls?

A simple question on social media about one of the most popular dolls in the United States has created an online tug-of-war over obesity and body image.

The site Plus-size-Modeling posted a pic of a plus-sized Barbie on Facebook December 18 with the caption: “Should toy companies start making plus-sized Barbie dolls?”

HLN has reached out repeatedly to the site, but has not heard back. Meanwhile, the post has garnered nearly 40,000 likes and more than 2,400 comments, with many people agreeing with one premise -- that Barbie, a relic of the 1950s, should be reinvented and depicted in a more realistic way. But many people are outraged at the imagery, saying that an “obese” doll promotes unhealthiness rather than “realness.”

“Barbie doesn't need a double chin. You can be 'plus size' w/o the double chin. They could make a 'thick' Barbie,” user Vanessa M. commented on Facebook.

“This is not what plus size women looks like. This doll is a terrible impression of a plus size woman,” said Facebook commenter Lisa D.

The debate is one that has been raging for years now: Is weight a true indicator of a person’s healthiness? Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long pointed to other factors that may determine a person's true health, such as high blood pressure and physical inactivity. Another question that's been posed is: What statement would it make to a child if she was given a plus-sized doll?

Full-figured model and blogger Essie Golden says that the issue is less about a doll and more about how children are validated at home.

“We are putting way too much blame on a doll, instead of looking at what really creates our body and self-acceptance issues, which would be our families,” Golden, who runs the site Golden Kaleidoscope, told HLN Friday.

“They have the greatest influence on our body images, not Barbie," she said. "The mother who was always on a diet, the grandmother pinching their grandchild's stomach and calling them fat or chubby -- and, of course, fathers who tell their daughters if they are fat they'll never be pretty or have a boyfriend. At the end of the day, a doll is just doll. Barbie is a cultural icon, but she doesn't have to be the only one.”

Read more: The year in body positivity: Celebrating the skin you're in

Many commenters were more supportive of a plus-sized Barbie, saying that children should be shown the full spectrum of body shapes and sizes.

“Why? You asked for 'real beauty' and you got it. She looks very realistic to me,” Florence D said on the Facebook post.

Alexs A. said: “Omg see all the negative comments on here about being obese! It's not asking if they should make more dolls obese looking! Plus size doesn't mean obese! It means woman have curves! And I'm all for woman who have curves! Too many people just judge people by there's looks which is disgusting!!!!”

What do you think? Would you buy a plus-sized Barbie for your child?

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