The Barbie impact: Is life in plastic really fantastic?

What Barbie has taught us about ourselves, writes Dr. Sarah Rasmi
The Barbie impact: Is life in plastic really fantastic?

August 8th, 2023 (Dubai, UAE): Embarking on its highly anticipated debut across the UAE, The Barbie movie sparks a thought-provoking query: How have Barbie dolls influenced our identities and perceptions of others? Beyond their role as playthings, Barbie stands as a symbol of boundless imagination, embodying not only beauty and fashion but also the cherished dreams and aspirations of her admirers. Diving deep into our connection with Barbie unveils the profound impact she wields in shaping our self-concepts and our interactions with the world. As an enduring cultural icon, Barbie resonates individually, reflecting diverse aspirations and ambitions.

Across generations, Barbie stands as a continuous emblem, a gateway to unbounded horizons. Many of us recall growing up with Barbie, often adhering to gender-based roles that mirrored societal constructs at the time. Yet, as adults, we now possess the vantage point to re-examine those experiences through a new lens. Previously, we embraced stereotypical Barbie dolls, while today, a diverse array of Barbie professions, from doctor to more, commands our attention. This evolution marks a departure from the conventional image, transforming Barbie into an inspirational role model for the young, echoing their aspirations.

Over the course of its journey, Barbie has undergone a captivating evolution that has defied conventional beauty norms and celebrated human uniqueness. At the heart of this ongoing conversation lies the intriguing challenge of translating Barbie’s iconic proportions into a tangible human form. The anticipation of the movie takes us down memory lane, revisiting an earlier Barbie iteration that underwent a remarkable transformation from childlike innocence to adult sophistication.

In a world where children internalize notions of ‘ideal’ body types, reinforced by messages that single out thinness as the sole standard of feminine allure, adverse effects such as body dissatisfaction and potential eating disorders may ensue. The impulse to mould themselves to society’s criteria of ‘beauty’ and ‘worth’ becomes intriguing. We know that children are avid learners, with their perceptions of weight and appearance taking shape through familial influence, social interactions, and media consumption.

But brace yourself, because the new Barbie movie isn’t just playing by the old rules; it’s orchestrating a shift. Barbie enters the scene with an all-new entourage – a diverse array of hairstyles, an explosion of colors, an infusion of unique abilities, and a rich palette of body sizes. This isn’t just a cosmetic makeover; it’s a resounding declaration of Barbie’s role in adapting, defying, and challenging the traditional standards of beauty.

At its heart, the movie skillfully portrays the crucial point of an identity crisis, serving as a transformative milestone along the path of self-discovery. Barbie allows us to realize that every step along this intricate voyage underscores the importance of recognizing our intrinsic worth.

In the insightful words of Ken, we must realize that we are not only ‘enough,’ but also ‘Kenough.’

ABOUT DR. SARAH RASMI: Dr. Sarah Rasmi holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Guelph in Canada. She also received training in therapy services from the Behman Psychiatric Hospital in Egypt and United Arab Emirates University (by an Oxford trained psychotherapist). Dr. Sarah has completed three couples therapy training via the Gottman Institute as well as the APA-accredited Humanistic Existential and Relational Therapy (HEART) training. She also completed training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction through Bangor University in the UK.

Dr Sarah works with individuals who have mild to moderate anxiety, panic, depression and phobias. In addition, she is a trained and experienced couples therapist – Dr. Sarah supports couples who are both looking to strengthen or save their relationships.

She also consults with government entities, corporations, and schools.

Image by Tomasz Mikołajczyk from Pixabay

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