The Bombardment Of Barbie’s And The Branding Of Beauty

1834 words - 7 pages

“[In] a poll done by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of 3,000 fourth to tenth graders revealed that most girls can’t look in a mirror and say, ‘I’m pretty!’ or even ‘I’m okay!’”(Cordes 4). Social media, avenues of peer and parental influences, and role models of “beauty” cause young girls of today’s society to develop distorted views of beauty for themselves. America over time has reached a level that depicts beauty as an unrealistic and unachievable model of the “perfect beautiful girl.” According to research by Shelly Grabe, Janet Shibley Hyde—both staff of the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—and L. Monique Ward of the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan, half of the population of females younger than twenty-four confess to being dissatisfied with the way they look (Grabe, Hyde, and Ward 460). Females of today’s society look to their culture to derive what exactly beauty is, and recently the depiction of beauty has been tainted. There is a plethora of speculated causes for this trend of negative self-perception in young females, and many of these causes eventually lead to dangerous extreme measures by girls striving to reach the “idealized level of beauty.”
Peer influences such as appearance conversations and friendship cliques have proven to have direct correlation with young girls and body image. Gathered from the research of two professors from the School of Psychology at Flinders University Levina Clark and Marika Tiggermann, “poor body image in children has been associated with teasing by peers and conversations with peers about appearance” (Clark and Tiggermann 1125). Peers easily persuade young girls, and if a girl’s peer group considers the unrealistic view of beauty to be attainable, then that will be what the girls of that friendship clique perceive as perfection, which will lead to acceptance. Another opinion about influence on young females’ body image is that parental comments play a role in self-acceptance among girls. Parents encouraging strict diets and enforcing dietary restraint for their children lay the foundation for an ideal to be thin to attain parental approval for many children (Stice and Whitenton 669).
Other causative influences in the distorted perception of body image found in young girls mentioned by Dittmar, Ive, and Halliwell can be associated with dolls—Barbie dolls particularly. In a survey performed by Helga Dittmar and Suzanne Ive of the Department of Psychology at the University of Sussex and Emma Halliwell of the Department of Psychology at the University of the West of England, ninety-nine percent of girls from toddlers to preteens in America own at least one Barbie doll—‘the cultural icon of female beauty’ (283). The research provided by Dittmar, Ive, and Halliwell also gives proof that girls’ desire to be thin sparks around the ages of six or seven. Barbie dolls are figurative role models whom young girls live vicariously...

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