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The Face Of Eating Disorders Essay

2197 words - 9 pages

As Katie and her daughter pranced into the doctor’s office, Katie spotted a seat on the far left side of the waiting room while her daughter’s gaze caught a corner of the room that was filled with toys. As Katie found her way to the empty seat after checking in with the receptionist at the office window, she swiped a brochure off of the coffee table that was located in the center of the room. As Katie began to take a seat, she opened the brochure’s cover and was alarmed when this beauty’s image gawked at her. With the title “Eating Disorder Awareness” printed across the top of the page, Katie read the alarming statistics about media’s affect on girls and their self-image. “The average model, dancer, and actor is calculated to be thinner than 95% of the population” (Briscoe 1). “Medical records show that anorexia nervosa is the deadliest mental condition, and often causes disturbances with the heart, organs, and is often connected to suicidal tendencies in it’s victims” (DeNoon 1). Alarmed by the statistics, Katie glanced at her innocent, playful eight-year-old and could not help but wonder if this iconic figure was having an effect on her daughter. Clutched in the young girl’s hand was the poster child of the eating disorder epidemic, the slender image depicted on the brochure: Mattel’s Barbie.
“Inspired by her daughter’s fascination with cutout paper dolls, Ruther Handler suggests making a three-dimensional doll through which little girls could play out their dreams… Barbie soon leads Mattel to the forefront of the toy industry and fascinates generations of young girls” (“Barbie Doll Makes Her Debut” 1). Barbie Millicent Roberts, more commonly known as Barbie, began her magnificent journey into 125 different careers, all while balancing a thriving relationship with her boyfriend, Ken, in 1959. With her marvelous corvette and dream house, Barbie’s incredible array of outfits and accessories have changed playtime for young girls over decades of varying styles of dresses and matching purses (“The Barbie Effect” 1). “The average girl from ages 3-11 owns at least 10 Barbie dolls and spends hours playing with them” (“The Barbie Effect” 1). While all of these attributes of Barbie’s life may seem innocent and pleasing from a parent’s perspective, Barbie also carries a bitter taste with her name; Barbie has been proven to be anatomically impossible, which is not the healthiest role model for children across the globe to admire (Goldstein 1). Nearly eight million people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with an eating disorder. Eighty-five to 90% of those million are female, and a staggering 80% of those females are 20 years old or younger (“The Barbie Effect” 1). With the rise of eating disorders in young people, and the targeted age group of the doll’s sales, Barbie may not be the best role model for adolescents to play with. Just as Katie read in the brochure, anorexia nervosa is believed to be the most fatal mental disorder and is on...

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