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Plus-size Barbie: Should dolls reflect real-world body types?

An online poll is reigniting the debate over whether toymakers are out of touch with reality when it comes to body image.

The Facebook page for Plus Size Modeling posted the question “Should toy companies start making Plus Sized Barbie dolls?” on Dec 18, accompanied by a mock-up picture of a plus-size Barbie – complete with a double chin – in a pink dress.

Plus-size Barbie: Should dolls reflect real-world body types?

The page is encouraging its followers to chime in – asking them “Like” the post if they agree, and to comment if they think it’s a bad idea.

The post has already received more than 40,000 Facebook “Likes” and nearly 5,000 comments, most of them saying the ideal Barbie would be somewhere between a double-chinned doll and the unrealistically skinny version that exists now.

“Sure, but Barbie doesn’t need a double chin,” one user wrote. “You can be plus size w/o the double chin. They could make a ‘thick’ Barbie.”

The post has also attracted comments from those who say a plus-size Barbie wouldn’t send the right message to young children.

“No, I’m a plus size person…and it’s one thing to accept yourself, but it’s also promoting obesity,” a woman wrote. “That’s not a good thing. We should not strive to want to be overweight.”

Barbie has had to contend with increasing criticism of her impossibly proportioned body.

While the 54-year-old doll has over the years graduated from pin-up girl to a range of characters that include astronauts, engineers and princesses, detractors continue to dismiss the 11.5-inch doll’s frame as impossibly top-heavy and tiny-waisted.

Barbie’s measurements equate to about a 39-inch bust, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips on a life-size woman. But she’s still No. 1 in the doll market, and the Mattel franchise has an estimated $1.3 billion in annual sales.

According to its Facebook page, Plus Size Modeling’s mission is to “show women all over America that the size of their clothes has nothing to do with the size of their hearts, personalities & futures!”

We’d like to know what you think about this topic, please post your thoughts and opinions in the comment box!

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