I remembered seeing this picture of Barbie on an image sharing website around 2 months ago and it brought me back to some of the topics that we discussed in class. The 90’s Barbie appears to have had more realistic proportions than the new millennium Barbie. Her waistline, legs, and arms are larger, and her chest, while still pronounced, looks slightly less “plastic.” Over a period of just 10 years, Barbie re-invents the image of the “ideal” woman. I thought this contrasted perfectly with the other picture above of a 1939 magazine advertisement about the ideal woman. In the ad, it shows that being skinny was not the ideal of the time, and that gaining weight was actually the preferred method of attracting people and finding happiness. Curves were the indicator of a healthy woman, which is an idea that dates back thousands of years ago to a time when Venus figurines, small stone statues depicting heavy-set fertility goddesses, were worshiped. It seems as though being ludicrously skinny, as modeled by the new millennium Barbie, is a goal that has only recently been set in place.
The other interesting observation between the Barbies is that the 90’s Barbie is wearing underwear, giving the impression of a more conservative Barbie than the most recent models. As far as I know, when dressing Barbie, the focus is on the outerwear, make-up, hair, etc. Perhaps choosing Barbie’s undergarments makes the doll too customizable, but this was not the case after the new millennium. There is less reason to be anatomically correct with the 90’s Barbie, which may be beneficial since it does not appear to be appropriate to learn about anatomy from a doll whose proportions are outrageous.
Speaking of outrageous proportions, one last thing about Barbie: the entire time that I was searching for an alternative Barbie photo, I could not find the 90’s Barbie’s proportions. No site I searched and no article I read even made a mention of the old Barbie’s sizes. This tells me that the conversation is mainly focused on the current Barbie and what it has done to affect the image of the perfect woman today, while looking at what changes Barbie has gone through to reach the new image is of less importance.