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You Great Big Beautiful Doll!

by Deah Schwartz, Ed.D, CTRS, CCC

TRIGGER WARNING:  If you follow the links provided in this post, you will see some disturbing images of women trying to morph themselves into real life Barbie Dolls.

ASDAH would not even exist if it weren’t for the members.  And certainly the ASDAH blog wouldn’t be possible because all of the regular and guest bloggers have to be members in order to post.  Once in a while, we open up our blog to both the members who may not have the time or inclination to submit a full, fleshed out blog post, and all of the readers who may have a little something they want to say about a topic that is “trending” in the media.  This is one of those occasions. We invite all of you to throw in your two cents about the latest flurry of news involving the iconic, infamous, leggy piece of plastic we all know as Barbie. Barbie has made it into the news over the past few months for three reasons:

  1. Two real live women made headlines when they let the world know that their goal in life was to become a living Barbie Doll.  One explained her strategy was to become as vacuous and unintelligent as possible while the other is devoted to becoming a breatharian in order to emulate Barbie’s whiter than white skin tone and skinny body proportions.
  2. Sports Illustrated joined forces with Mattel, maker of Barbie to include the doll in their world renowned annual Swimsuit Issue.
  3. A young male entrepreneur started a “Crowdfunding” campaign in order to offer a more realistically proportioned doll for kids to play with.  The Lammily Doll is being advertised as “fit and strong” with measurements  that are more typical of an “average” 19-year-old woman.

Because ASDAH is so devoted to exploring and addressing issues related to body diversity and body image among boys, girls, women, and men, this Barbie Barrage in the media is difficult to ignore.  The variety of different points of view is pretty compelling and can be found in newspapers and zines from The Huffington Post to The New York Times.  We have provided links to a variety of articles should you wish to get up to speed on what is out there, but the questions we are asking you are:

  •  What role do dolls play in body image development?
  • What do you think about a children’s toy being used in a historically adult male magazine?
  • Is it a positive step to have a doll like Lammily or is it just another way that women are objectified?

Please note, these questions do NOT represent the opinions of ASDAH’s blog committee.  They are taken from a sampling of the articles listed in this post. The blog committee does, however, hope that there will be a lively and interactive discussion by anyone out there who has something to say.  And while you are mulling all of this over, we offer you this for your listening pleasure!


Deah Schwartz, Ed.D, CTRS, CCC, Educator, Activist, and Clinician with a private practice in Oakland CA, has more than 30 years of experience in using Expressive Arts Therapies to treat Eating Disorders and Body Image issues. Deah is the co-author of Leftovers, The Ups and Downs of a Compulsive EaterDVD/Workbook Set, a resource for Eating Disorders, and author of the Size Acceptance syndicated blog, Tasty Morsels. She’s also a member of the HAES Blog committee. To find out more about Dr. Deah’s work, visit her website at

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