Beauty: it comes in all shapes and shades


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Being a woman, an average woman, is tough. It is especially tough to be a unique woman, with her own style, with a “different” body figure and stand strong against society’s criticism of what a women should look like.

Today we have magazines and social networks that portray a particular image of the way that young women should look and act. Perhaps this is why Nickolay Lamm, a Pittsburgh artist recently created a modern day Barbie, which many believe to be more realistic in correspondence to young women.

If the original Barbie were an actual person, her waist would be 16 inches and her foot would be a size 3. Her neck would be so skinny that she couldn’t breathe nor hold up her head. According to CNN news, Lamm says he created Barbara to show that “average is beautiful”. “Barbara” the name of Lamm’s new Barbie creation is shorter with a wider waist, larger bottom and feet.

I believe that it is wonderful for him to have created a new Barbara, but feel as though the shape of the original Barbie never truly influenced the way that I thought of myself.

Most little girls understand that Barbie is fake, Barbie is plastic. A lot of the insecurity of young girls’ falls under what society says is beautiful. For example, I feel as though a bigger issue for me growing up may have been the skin color of my dolls. As an African-American woman, I have experienced childhood and the way that I have viewed my dolls a particular cultural way.

I had a variety of white Barbie’s and a few Hispanic ones also but my dolls were generally black. My aunts used to give me collection Barbie’s and dolls for holidays and my birthdays. I have over 20 dolls, all of African descent.

I believe that parents want their children to have dolls that look “more like them” in a skin-tone aspect so that little girls understand that they are beautiful and do not choose “This color doll over that color doll.”

I recall one of my birthday parties, where my mom brought a cake and the decorative piece on the cake was a cheerleader. The cheerleader was white with blonde hair and my mom politely asked the store if they “had any African-American cheerleaders to place on the cake”. It turned out the store did not and my mom grew upset.

At the time, I did not understand but throughout growing up, I have. I think that shape definitely plays a big part in beauty but as a little girl, most don’t know that they’re “overweight” until someone brings it to her attention or she hears it at the doctors.

As I have talked with friends of different ethnicities, black, white and biracial, many African American mothers encouraged their children to play with black dolls and Barbie’s, as many of my white friends only had white Barbie’s.

My best friend, who is a white woman, has a biracial child and buys her daughter biracial looking dolls, for the sake of her child understanding that being biracial is beautiful.

As I visited Mattel’s website I read “Leaders at Mattel align themselves with Mattel’s core values, exhibit leadership competencies and drive for success in our business strategies. In this way, we will work to achieve our vision, ‘Creating the Future of Play.’ Every day as Mattel’s employees worldwide strive to realize that vision, our leadership team is guiding the way.”

Mattel is one of the leading corporations of the world’s toy creation. When clicking on this link: http://corporate.mattel.com/about-us/default.aspx I viewed Mattel’s leadership team. There are 10 people on mattel’s leadership team, 9 white men and one white woman. When Google Image searching “Barbie,” all white dolls show up.

Society should emphasize diversity whether that be in body weight, height or skin color.
I learned just a couple years ago at Ship’s “Love Your Body Day” that the average American woman is a size 14, a fact that I’m sure most people are unaware of.

Who is this?-Lamm’s point of “average being beautiful” is definitely a phenomenal truth that needs to be promoted in America. But I believe that most Barbies are used in children’s imaginative and dramatic play, and I honestly believe that children could care less about the shape of a doll.

But just in case shape is a factor, I believe that a better message to promote to young girls would be that average is awesome and beauty comes in all shapes and shades.


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