This really eats at me

Monday, March 19, 2012

-- pun intended.

Eating disorders are not caused by playing with Barbies. For the love of G-d and all that is holy.

I played with barbies and yes, I developed at eating disorder, but Barbies do not 'cause' eating disorders. To borrow from Something Fishy, Barbies cause eating disorders the same way playing with baby dolls causes girls to get pregnant too early.

My personal perspective on Barbie is that playing with Barbies may cause or at least contribute to materialism and consumerism in the culture which is a separate issue.

Simply blaming the media or blaming Barbie is foolish. It makes it seem that eating disorders are simplistic, when they are anything but. They are complex manifestations of a persons relationship with her physical, emotional and social self. They are indicative of something much deeper than Barbie.

Media contributes to the lookist culture bombarding consumers with direct messages about weight, beauty, and body shape, but contribution does not equal cause.

These messages may speed up the development of an eating disorder if an individual was already predisposed to developing one.

So what? What can be done? Stop buying Barbies? Dress everyone in paper sacks?

How about teaching kids to be proud of their bodies. To be proud of what they can do? Be proud of the muscles beneath your skin. Be proud of your brain, be proud of the physical, be proud of the emotional, be proud of the whole person. Maybe with encouragement this will allow the next few generations to have a healthier relationship with themselves- the whole self.


Dorothy P said...

I totally agree with you. As a society we tend to pass the buck, sometimes to inanimate objects. When I was a kid, I loved Barbies. I had an eating disorder in hs, but I attribute it to constantly being told that I was fat and to eat less, not by my peers but by my mother. I was also taught to be ashamed of my body, that nakedness is disgusting. These feelings are something that I struggle with to this day. Celebrating who kids are as kids will help them grow up celebrating each other as adults (and may cut down on therapy bills in the process).

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