Barbie, Women, Men and Body Image | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Mountain View Online |

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Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Barbie, Women, Men and Body Image

Uploaded: Nov 7, 2014
I just want to start by saying body image is a huge topic and many articles and tomes have been written on the topic. I will just brush the surface here, with the intention of getting you to think about issues, thoughts, concerns, and beliefs about your own body image, and that of your beloved.

What got me thinking about this was an article I read in Scientific American in which an artist looked at his own issues with body image, talked with others about it, and decided to remake Barbie with realistic human proportions.

Take a look: she's a fair piece shorter, sturdier, muscular, and rounded in pleasing ways. Her feet are bigger and can actually hold up a woman.

I also read a BBC article about Barbie's proportions which shows that a woman with Barbie's waist size would have to be 7'6" tall!

Further information on the internet suggests that Barbie would be between 5'9" and 5'11" and weigh about 110 pounds.

Livestrong states the average height of a woman in the US is 5'4" is the weight range is 108-132 pounds. A 5-foot-5 man has a range of 122 to 150 pounds, and a 5-foot-11 and a weight of 155 to 189 pounds.

The reality, however, is that we are beautiful or handsome to our beloved, not because we get anywhere near Barbie and Ken standards, but because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the long run, it is love and connection and sex that make us attractive to one another.

(In the early days of attraction and dating, it is the crazy brain chemicals and hormones at work deciding if this woman or this man is an option.)

Barbie and Ken-like body images have caused damage to women and men in a variety of ways. To what lengths will one go to try to attain and maintain body image? Eating disorders (that may be fatal), surgery, constant dieting . . . ?

I am suggesting healthy lifestyle, exercise, good sleep, good food, minimizing alcohol. These all help take care of our brain as well as our body.

After you explore your feelings about your own body, maybe you'll talk with your mate about it.

I know as I grow older, my husband's love for my aging body helps make it easier for me to accept the changes, too.

I remember my grandmother saying that when she looked in the mirror she didn't recognize that old lady; she was still young in her mind.

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Posted by The Logo, a resident of Atherton: other,
on Nov 11, 2014 at 11:49 am

Okay, 1,600 views - job well done in getting the views, a good title does that. And always an interesting subject.

But I'll bite... how does your point about accepting aging "real" bodies square with the image (stock?) of the two young adults holding hands in your "Couples Net" logo?



According to Livestrong: in the United States in 2010 the average adult female height was approximately 5-foot-4 -- and 166.2 pounds. Web Link

That Lovely in the image is not 160, and he isn't your average Joe, either (but nice arms!)

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi The Logo, Thanks for asking. That photo for Couple's Net was provided by the publisher. My marriage counseling practice is generally demographically people in their 30's to those in their 70's, although I do have the honor of working with younger couples as well.

Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Body image is, indeed, a difficult subject to tackle. I grew up LOVING my Barbies and their clothes and shoes. The most damaging blows to my self-image and body image came not from Barbie, but from my mom.
I'm not going to be a parent, myself, but I'd love to ask mothers and fathers to be gentle with what they tell their children about bodies and their looks. I have a friend who has told me she and her husband have asked her 4 year old daughter "Are you smart or pretty?" and the daughter answers "both". I told my friend to stop asking that question immediately. Eventually the answer might turn up to be "neither".

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi RW, Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Parents often have a huge impact on children's body image. Modeling healthy behavior such as exercise and eating well will go a long way with children. They may hear our words, but they track what they see. The best advice for parents regarding comments to their children is to focus on the effort they put out vs. the results. For example: "I see you worked hard on that project, you put in a lot of effort, and were responsible about getting it done on time." Completely changes the dynamic.

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