Concept for plus-sized doll sparks debate on female body image

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Lately, a new controversial version of Barbie has been raising a lot of discussion and debate among social media outlets after a concept photo of her went viral online.


Photo Credit: Worth1000 | Facebook

The photo, which was created by a company called, shows a traditional Barbie on the right hand side, and then on the left is a new conceptualized plus-sized version of that same Barbie. The new Barbie features much wider hips, thicker extremities and torso area, as well as a fuller face, shorter neck and triple chin.

Plus Size ModelingThe image of the new Barbie, which was re-posted recently by the Facebook group, , was intended to create a discussion about whether or not plus-sized dolls should be made available to represent and support a more realistic body image for young girls in the current world. However, while at the same time the image has gotten several shares and likes, it has also received a lot of negative comments and criticisms.

The traditional Barbie has come under scrutiny in the past for being unrealistically proportioned and therefore creating a body image for young girls that is pretty much impossible to achieve. It has been determined through research that if the Barbie that everyone has grown up with became an actual human she would have a BMI of 16.24, which meets the weight criteria for anorexia.

Those who dislike the new plus-sized photo say that this Barbie, although a potentially good concept, is a poor execution of the idea. Critics argue that many plus-sized women although larger, do not necessarily have double or triple chins, and believe that the plus-sized version is inaccurate and could have been conceptualized with much less of an extreme emphasis on that area.

On the other side of the negative criticisms, commenters knock the new look completely, saying that this version of Barbie promotes obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle for young girls.

Many social media users requested that Barbie’s manufacturer, Mattel, produce an average sized Barbie based off the proportions of the typical average female body type, eliminating the so-called ‘promotion’ of either extreme. The Huffington Post reported on one artist, Nickolay Lamm, who did just that by morphing Barbie with the proportions of an average 19-year-old female body. The more realistic Barbie features a shorter neck, a little more curves and is much shorter in stature.

Currently, it is unknown if Mattel has plans to create any new versions of Barbie, and because all the concepts created have been non-affiliated with the creator of the popular doll, it is very possible that new version could look much different then what these photos conceive.

CLICK HERE to read’s study called ‘Dying to be Barbie – An epidemic of body hatred.’

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  • Jess

    I don’t understand why people make such a big deal about what the original barbie looks like.It’s a barbie. It’s a doll. A toy young girls play with. I grew up playing with barbie dolls and never once did it affect me in how I wanted to look when I grew up. It was a toy that I played with. Plain and simple. People these days look way to far into things anymore.

    • Katie

      I agree with you. I would also say that the plus sized barbie does not look right, and I don’t think barbie should change after all it is just a doll.
      It doesn’t look like an average 19 year old either. Some people can not help their genetic makeup. some people can not loose weight on their own and some no matter how much they try they can’t gain it either.

  • Teresa Wilson

    I have had a plus size body as long as I remember, and yet I had no shortage of boyfriends. but even now at 54 I do not have a triple chin! I agree with the author, this conceptual version is too extreme. But the initial idea poses a very good question… a compromised version should be examined. Remember Marylyn Monroe had a size 14 body most of her life. No lack of glamour there!!!!
    Back in the 60’s my mom purchased me a Christie doll (the first black Barbie) and I was so proud of it. It expanded my world of friends (I am Caucasian). Remake Barbie to a normally proportioned size 18 and see how it sells. Take a baby step, and move to a size 22 and then they can see how glam Mommy’s shape can be and be immensely proud of their heritage and look forward to a beautiful and fulfilling life.

  • Tricia

    Don’t make a fat and ugly barbie just because we became fat by ourselves with the help of big macs and made wrong food choices and decided to sit in front of the tube and switch channels not by getting up off our rear-ends but, by aiming and pushing a button that was pointed at the tube. Stop coming up with all this #$%$ you media people think we want to hear. Give kids some credit they aren’t as weak as you let on. For one thing you media people are just as much to blame as anyone else and why because you advertize those video games the kids want instead of helping the parents out by showing the kids it’s great to play outside. We allow corporations like McDonald’s to Super Size everything because we want MORE! Let’s face it we want more and to pay less for #$%$ that we shouldn’t be consuming so much of and then some people want to blame other people for the choice they made for themselves and their family’s. I don’t know this as fact but, I would say what we call a nice portion would look like mount Everest to someone living back in 1950. Just look around and you will find people that think they need big houses and lots of #$%$ to put in it well, only to be working up until the day they die. I am not skinny by any means at my highest weight I was close to 320 I am down to around 290 not a big lose but, I am not starving myself either. It took me a twenty years to get this big and so it should take me at least ten to lose it at a decent rate. Granted I have seen the biggest loser and they lose a ton of weight in about a year but, that’s not really the way to do it. That’s my personal opinion here folks. Just like some people look weigh better being very thin a few people look good being really fat but, Barbie isn’t one of those people. I’m so sick and tired of hearing how most kids have to be on medication for A.D.D I could puke! I’m not saying some kids don’t have that problem but, most don’t. They have one of my granddaughter on the #$%$ and she really isn’t all that hyper. The lady taking care of her is over weight like me and I bet she doesn’t want to get off her #$%$ to run after a six year old she has trouble keeping up with, there are other older children there but, like her they are over weight too. Is it any wonder why we have become a society of over weight people and I don’t see the numbers going down anytime soon with all the #$%$ they put in our food supply. So, you say buy Organic yea you will be paying out your #$%$ for that too. Since most of America is on Food Stamps because of no real jobs because they went over seas we or I should say I can’t afford to eat good healthy meals because it cost too much to buy even if you don’t buy the Organic foods. And since the doll is supposed to repersent friends and family then I guess they should make two more one with a joint in her hand and another one with a needle in her arm considering I am sure they either have a family member or a friend of the family using some sort of drug or wait maybe they should get one with a whiskey bottle too let’s really encourage our kids!

  • Chemane Wright

    It would be nice if we lived in an idealistic world, where people looked beyond the physical appearance, but we can’t. So lets address the obvious, some people are naturally heavier, but this doll does not look like a woman of size, it looks like barbie got depressed for a year, and ate nothing but cupcakes. A true plus size woman looks healthy, and beautiful in that health. If mattel wants a plus size version for the little girl that feels like she will never fit in because of her size, then redesign the model, and stop asking for public opinion. If there are people out there who object then these are the people who were never heavy and do not have husky children. They do not, and cannot understand. Make the doll, market it and sell it. It is just a doll, but it’s not just a doll to a child, who either aspires to be her, or to marry her. Like race, it should reflect who that child is, and to say that it is wrong.. well that is like saying that barbie shouldn’t be dolls of different races or professions either. Its a bias that should not be entertained.

  • Tricia

    I grew up watching the bionic woman and the six million dollar man and had all three dolls. I wanted to look like Lindsay Wagner and even had a T-shirt with her picture. I often imagined how it would be to have an older sister and wishing she could be her. I looked up to the characters they displayed not the doll. If your child is looking at a doll like that they need help and so do you. I knew like most should they were toys and not real. I guess your kid believes in Santa and the Easter Bunny too? I didn’t go with the norm of telling lies to my children. They knew Santa wasn’t real and there was no such thing as The Easter Bunny. We still had Christmas and Easter and even when I said this came from the Easter Bunny they knew fact from lies. So, when a crime was committed against one of my children and the police asked them about Santa and the Easter Bunny and about them being real or imagined they had credibility because they knew the truth and so were believable more than another child who would have thought they were real. I took a lot of heat from friends who didn’t go along with my way of thinking but, I am glad I tried not to lie to my kids about anything that way they weren’t fooled about the real world. They also knew that if they wanted something and it wasn’t under the Christmas tree it wasn’t because they hadn’t been good enough it was because mommy didn’t have the money to buy it. Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus and not presents anyway.

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