Most girls grow up with a bin full of Barbie’s in their basement. The doll has long been the model of perfection for little girls around the world.Many of Barbie’s critics say that the doll was leaving lasting impressions on girls long after their dress-up days. In an effort to silence the criticism, Barbie has become more and more inclusive every passing year—you can now buy a Barbie doll of almost any race, ethnicity or profession—but the one thing that hasn’t changed throughout the years is Barbie’s proportions. It has recently come to light that Barbie, the perfect doll, well, has proportions very few women are likely to have: a 39” bust and an 18” waist. To give you a comparison, Marilyn Monroe’s measurements were a 36” bust and a 24” waist. Today, desirable runway models measurements are a 32-34” bust and a 22-26” waist. A life-size Barbie wouldn’t exactly be your average women or your extreme—she would be way off the spectrum.
Barbies’ Proportions v. A real woman’s
Photo Curtesy of Glamour.com
Today in Ukraine, women don’t only feel the pressure of perfection; they feel the pressure to turn themselves into Barbie. 21-year-old Valeriya Lukuanova made international headlines in April because she turned herself into that “human-Barbie”. Though the help of plastic surgery—which she openly admits to receiving—she became Barbie in the purest sense, not only becoming the most “perfect” version of herself, but the most perfect version of Barbie. She used plastic surgery, eyelash extensions, colored contact lenses and makeup to become Barbie. Her measurements are a 34” bust and an 18” waste, much smaller then the average women.
But she is not alone; there are two other Ukrainian women who call themselves living dolls. Olga Oleynik, who goes by Dominkia has undergone many of the same procedures and styling as Lukuanova. Anastasia Shagina, who goes by Anime has not undergone surgery, but is heavily styled and one day wishes too. Many believe that these women undergo these procedures to receive publicity and advance their careers. Anime, who is a hairdresser and makeup artist, says that her “living-doll” look helps her gain clients and the publicity has advanced her career. Lukyanova uses her popularity to promote the lectures she leads about out-of-body experiences.
Valeriya Lukuanova is a real life Barbie
Photo Curtesy of: Yahoo News
Outside of the Ukraine, many other people are doing the same thing. Just across the pond, Sarah Burge of Britain considers herself a “human Barbie” and spent more than $800,000 on plastic surgery. Also in Britain, Venus Palermo, a 15-year-old London girl who goes by the name Venus Angelic, creates YouTube videos to inspire others to become a Barbie. While she herself has not had surgery, she uses very complex makeup techniques as well as other forms of styling to turn herself into a Human Barbie. While some may overlook their demographic, men are also affected. American Justin Jedica has had 90 plastic surgery procedures totaling more $100,000 to turn himself into a “human-ken”
While many people do not go to the extremes these women do, they represent the growing pressure on young women to conform to the standards of modern beauty. Katya Soldak at Forbes, wrote this “Barbie doll syndrome,” may more likely be “a struggle for perfection or escape from reality.” If looking like a human Barbie is what makes these people happy, than I’m all for it. But girls, at increasingly younger ages, may not want to look like that, but believe that they will not be happy or skinny if they don’t. And may don’t have the means or want to turn themselves into these dolls. No matter how hard they try, they cannot and will not look like Barbie. And that’s okay. They are all beautiful and America needs to let them know that. While Barbie’s have come a long way, lets hope they represent every American one day, tall or short, skinny or not, every person is unique and deserves to feel happy with their bodies.