Barbie, Mom and Body Image
In Barbie's 50 years as the doll America loves to hate, there's been lots of hand-wringing over the fashion icon's role in shaping girls' self-image. Do those big breasts, wasp waist and mile-long legs make us gals feel so inadequate that we fall into punishing dietary habits and other self-destructive behaviors?
The author of this article suggests that her own mother's strong sense of self allowed for Barbie to take on a positive role in her own developing sense of self. But other women's relationships with Barbie may not be so healthful, as this article notes.
I'll be looking at the Barbie phenomenon in next week's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column. This week's column, though, suggests that when it comes to damaging girls' body image, mothers' feelings about their own bodies can wield enormous influence. Women who let on that they hate their thighs, waistlines, breasts and behinds send signals to their daughters that prompt girls to question their own bodies and sense of self-worth, says Dara Chadwick, author of the forthcoming (due in May) book You'd Be So Pretty If....
In my own case, my many Barbie dolls left no discernible mark on my feelings about my body. And my own mother seemed pleased enough with her own figure that I didn't learn my self-disparaging ways from her. But her occasional comments about my weight and waistline, however well meaning, have affected me in lasting ways.
What about you? Who -- or what -- has most influenced your feelings about your body? Cast your vote in this week's poll, and please share your stories in the comments section. Men, let's hear from you, too!
This week's poll:
Results of last week's poll: Judging from your comments, breaking a food habit appears to be tough whether you go cold turkey or simply cut back. The vast majority of you, though, voted for the cold-turkey route: Only 36 percent said moderation works for them, versus 64 percent who favored going cold turkey.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
March 3, 2009; 7:20 AM ET
Categories: Family Health , General Health , Motherhood , Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity , Pyschology , Teens , Women's Health
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