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Plus-sized Barbie slammed for promoting obesity: Ignites debate on body image

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A photo of a hypothetical plus-sized Barbie doll has ignited a heated debate over obesity, body image, and anorexia.

The brouhaha began when Plus Size Modeling posed the following question on its Facebook page: "Should companies start making plus-sized Barbie dolls?"

A photo (produced by Worth1000) of a heavier Barbie doll, complete with double chin and fuller thighs, was posted along with the question. What followed was a heated exchange among commenters, some of whom thought a plus-sized doll promotes obesity.

"No one is naturally fat for god's sake, that's sending the message to girls that it's OK to look like this and be unhealthy," said one commenter.

Some plus-sized women were offended that the heavy Barbie was portrayed with a double chin.

"This is horrible," said one woman. "Maybe make her a little fuller, but in no way promote obesity. Triple chins?? Really?? I'm a curvy girl,but come on this is ridiculous."

Others were all for the idea of representing women of all body sizes and shapes. "Nothing wrong with a curvy Barbie ... real women have curves, show girls it's OK to have meat on their bones," said one woman.

This isn't the first time a Barbie makeover has fueled debate. In July 2013, artist Nickolay Lamm unveiled a 3-D model of a "normal-weight" Barbie, who was shorter and thicker than the typical Barbie doll.

Lamm said he undertook the project to address concerns that the current Barbie doll promotes an unhealthy body image and eating disorders among young girls.

"If there's even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks good as an average-sized woman in America, what's stopping Mattel from making one?" he asked.

Demi Lovato, who has battled anorexia and bulimia, said she wished for a normal-weight Barbie doll with cellulite.

"One of my biggest dreams is to have my own Barbie but with my actual body type ... Weight and height," said Lovato. "Also, Barbie should make dolls with cellulite! After all, around 95% of all women have it!"

Body experts say if Barbie were a real person, she would be 6-feet-tall, weigh an anemic 100 pounds and have a 16-inch waist.

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