She’s been a favourite with young girls for decades. But a life-sized Barbie is being used to demonstrate just how unhealthy the doll’s proportions would be on a real woman. The mannequin, which stands 5ft 9in tall, has a 39in bust, a tiny 18in waist and 33in hips. Even her feet would be disproportionate, at a tiny U.S. size 3. Galia Slayen, who made the model, revealed that a real woman with the same dimensions would weigh just 110lb, giving her a BMI of 16.24 – a figure associated with eating disorders. She told the Huffington Post: ‘If Barbie were an actual woman, she would be 5ft 9in tall, have a 39in bust, an 18in waist, 33in hips and a size 3 shoe. She likely would not menstruate… she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.’ Miss Slayen, a former anorexia sufferer, knows the implications of being underweight all too well, and built the doll as part of her recovery and as a means of raising awareness about the dangers of eating disorders. The giant Barbie, made from chicken wire and papier mache, is now on show at Hamilton College, Oregon, where Miss Slayen is a student, as part of its National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW). She told CBS News: ‘The goal of Barbie is to get people’s attention. Eating disorders are very prevalent and not talked about. It’s sensationalised in the media every time a star loses weight, but this is a very internal struggle.’ Miss Slayen, who played with Barbie dolls as a child, said that her own weight problems began when she was 15. She revealed that a troubled relationship with her parents and pressure from her peers drove her to excessive calorie-counting and exercise – something that became an obsession. She explained: ‘I was living on my own and trying to figure out how I was going to survive. My life was completely out of control and it was the one thing I was able to control – the hours at the gym, the calories I was in-taking. It’s a means to control your life.’
GET REAL, BARBIE: THE FACTS
- There are two Barbie dolls sold every second in the world.
- The target market for Barbie doll sales is young girls ages 3-12 years of age.
- A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.
- Over a billion dollars worth of Barbie dolls and accessories were sold in 1993, making this doll big business and one of the top 10 toys sold.
- Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled: ‘How to Lose Weight’ with directions inside stating simply ‘Don’t eat’.