Barbie — plastic pop culture icon — has been appropriated to raise awareness about eating disorders.
College student Galia Slayen, who struggled with anorexia in high school, created a life-sized Barbie who stands 6 feet tall with a 39-inch bust, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips. Truth be told, it kind of freaks us out.
On Monday (April 18), Slayen and the doll appeared on “Today” to talk about the first National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
“I’m not blaming Barbie [for my illness],” said Slayen on ‘Today.’ “She’s one small factor, an environmental factor. 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.”
Slayen adds that the measurements of her Barbie don’t precisely match the true proportions of the doll, but she exaggerated her creation in order to make a point.
Mattel, for its part, isn’t offended.
“As a pop-cultural icon, Barbie is often used as art to express one’s own personal opinions and views,” a Mattel spokesperson said to ‘Today.’ “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.”
Don’t tell Pamela Anderson.