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Life Sized Barbie Draws Attention to Body Image Issues and Eating Disorders

A life sized Barbie doll has drawn attention to body image issues and eating disorders. Created by Galia Slayen using wood, chicken wire, and paper mache, the six foot tall Barbie (complete with her smaller counterpart's extreme proportions) made an appearance on MSNBC's Today Show to highlight and promote National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW). Slayen offered on Today: "My goal of [constructing the life sized] Barbie is to create discussion. You can't ignore her."

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is quite personal for Slayen as she once battled against eating disorders and body image as an adolescent. Like most teens and young women, Slayen's body image perceptions were molded by societal pressures, including the extreme "Barbie-perfect" proportions Slayen reflected on Today that her views on body image as a young girl “would always come back to this ‘Barbie’-perfect," and resorted to extremely unhealthy measures to conform.

Response to Slayen's life sized Barbie has garnered national attention. Students from Hamilton reacted strongly and reported feelings of shame upon viewing Slayen's Barbie. Health writer and body image expert Leslie Goldman offered her opinion with: "It's Barbie; it's diet pills; it's airbrushed ads; it's reality shows about plastic surgery. All of these forces kind of conspire to make young girls - and grown women - feel like garbage."

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