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the Uproar of the Plus-size Barbie; views from a doll collector and doll artist

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I have recently stumbled upon various articles, talking about the plus size Barbie. I wasn't really going to talk about here, because there seemed to be more emphasis on body imaging than dolls. But as a doll is involved, and that because there seems to be the idea that dolls made to be plus size or curvy, is somehow viewed as promoting obesity; and that the look of a plus-size person is somehow undesirable. I’m referring most specifically to the double chin, the artist/company decided to place on the doll, as a look they believe represents all plus-size persons. I really feel this artist/company, is not familiar with the bodies of real plus-size people, if that was his or her intent. And to visibly create a plus-size doll as a character (like a witch of some sort) and not bringing out the beauty onto this doll, as a real person has, I felt as a doll artist, I had to way in.

First I want to say, that dolls were made to represent all people. We see dolls of color, we see dolls of adolescent years, we see dolls that are grown up, we even see dolls with flat and bigger feet!. And why not beautiful plus - size dolls. I would love to collect these dolls, they are gorgeous. It’s unique. And it represents the curvaceous or at least the beauty in those who have a different look than what we are use to seeing. We are all different in this world. We share one thing, if anything. We are all human!

It is interesting how we as a society have decided what a person should look like, and if a person should be plus - size, then that is considered unhealthy, and undesirable; hence the double chin. That, if you are slim like Barbie, you are healthy!. How misguided we are, if that is the belief. Do you know you can be unhealthy, even if you are the size and shape of Barbie? Did you also know you can have a double chin, even if you are slim, like Barbie. Hey, everyone can have a problem area.

The issue of obesity, is a serious one, and there are those who need assistance with this health issue. But plus - size or curvaceous does not mean obesity. It means the person is a different size than some others. There are those who are curvy, those who are voluptuous, those who are lean and those who are svelte or slim. Hmmm there is a pattern. We are all made differently. An old doctor of mine said to me (though not about this particular subject) that not all petals on a flower are the same. It just means that we are each made differently. We are made that way, so we may come to relate and understand each other, without the worry of what we look like or being not like the other.

I’m all for the plus size dolls, but without the double chin. As if to say, to be plus sized, is to be looking like a character. This is not a representation of plus - size people. Nor should that be portrayed as such in a doll. There are doll artists, who create curvy dolls, but in a way that is a representation of what real people look like. And with that they are made to be beautiful, because that is what, in most cases, is being captured, particularly the beauty of the human spirit.

I was listening to one of my favorite musicians, Ann and Nancy Wilson, who, in an interview with Jian Ghomeshi, talked about “the treacherous waters of the 80s” when there was MTV with music videos. And although the videos were awesome, we began to get use to looking at what Hollywood feels, sells; a particular body image, that looks like Barbie. And as Nancy Wilson mentioned “the corset was never tight enough”, when it came to the designers, production producers or what have you, in working on their image. These designers and producers were never satisfied and were blinded by a barbie type image, not allowing the ladies to be themselves as women and as the great musicians they are. Imagery can be fun, but it should not override our senses, that only one body type, and type of look is best to look at, simply because that is what Hollywood decides, or what we always see. But I totally digress.

All in all the plus-size doll would be a wonderful (hence, without the chin) in addition to the many types of dolls we have; dolls of color, dolls of adolescence, and dolls of different sizes and shapes. And plus - size in no way has anything to do with being unhealthy or undesirable. It just means, it is a different shape and size.

So artist/company of the plus-size barbie, take away the double chin, and show what any barbie doll would have and real people have, and that is beauty.

View the video by DNews, giving a short coverage on the uproar that people are having with the plus - size barbie.

View these doll creations in the works of doll artists, who capture the persons in real life.

My best to all doll collectors

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