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Barbie syndrome is a term used to loosely describe the desire to have a physical appearance and lifestyle representative of the infamous Barbie doll. It is most often associated with pre-teen and adolescent females but is applicable to any age group. Usually it is female youth that will attempt because it is associated with puberty and the awkward stages. The child will want to look her best and most beautiful to males and believes in looking beautiful like Barbie, though Barbie has radical body proportions. Someone afflicted with Barbie syndrome strives for an unattainable body type.
Males that strive to have a very charming and attractive look will have what is called Ken Syndrome. They will strive to look as attractive as Barbie's male companion, or boyfriend is presumed to be.
Children have always innately associated themselves with their toys to give them information about their own identities. This allows them to form and develop their self image at an early age. When playing with Barbies, children project their self image onto the doll in an attempt to identify with it and have been doing so since its launch in 1959. This confusion in young girls’ self perception has sparked the interest of many feminist scholars because the likelihood of having Barbie’s body shape is 1 in 100,000, but Ken’s body shape is more easily attainable. Some feminists believe that this re-instills the ideals of male dominance in American society .
- Lind, Amy. "Battleground: Women, Gender, and Sexuality", Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008
- Making Cindy into Barbie? - BBC News, HEALTH (21 September 1998)
- Becoming Barbie: Living Dolls, Real Life Couple Are Models Of Plastic Perfection - by Rebecca Leung (Aug. 6, 2004) CBS News