By Guest Nicole
Her one request for the doll? "She had to have her thighs touch," says the supermodel, who's been an advocate for body diversity in the industry.
Ashley Graham has much to celebrate this year. From being named one of Sports Illustrated's 2016 rookies to starring in a DNCE music video, the curvy model has been a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry (and beyond). And she's showing no signs of slowing down; on Monday night, she's set to be honored with Glamour's Woman of the Year Award for her work as a body activist.
That's not all: The supermodel also is getting a Barbie made after her. As part of Mattel's effort to be more diverse and inclusive, the El Segundo, Calif.-based company is creating a Barbie based on the model's likeness that's all about advocating for women of all sizes to be represented in the industry. Zendaya and Ava DuVernay are among the women in Hollywood to receive their own Barbies this past year.
"I never imagined that I would have my own Barbie," Graham told The Hollywood Reporter via phone a few hours before the unveiling of her doll.
However, she might have predicted her fortune without knowing it when she told Access Hollywood earlier this year that she was thrilled about the new body-positivity Barbie. Turns out, the folks at Mattel saw that interview.
"They told me that was one of the reasons they wanted to make [the doll]," Graham explained. "It's just another one of those things where your words have power, and be careful what you ask for because you'll get it."
When it came time to collaborate with Mattel, Graham imagined she'd have to "go through this vortex or body scanner and then poof, this immortalized plastic version of me would pop out."
But that's not what happened.
Instead, Mattel asked Graham what she wanted her Barbie to wear, and she zeroed in on a sparkly Opening Ceremony bodycon dress, a Sonia Rykiel cropped jean jacket decorated in patches and spiky Pierre Hardy boots — an outfit she'd actually worn herself in the past.
Graham also had another request for her doll: no thigh gap.
"She had to have her thighs touch. No ands, ifs or buts about it. And I asked for cellulite but obviously plastic and cellulite don't go hand in hand," she shared. "It was important that the Barbie resembled me as much as possible. The thighs touching was one way to show young girls that it's OK for your thighs to touch, despite society saying that a 'thigh gap' is more beautiful."
Graham, who remembers playing with her aunt's vintage Barbies as a kid, hopes that little girls who see her doll will realize "now every girl does look like Barbie. It's not an unattainable thing." Now, they can say, "That's my Barbie. I look like that one."
The 29-year-old noted if she had played with Barbies that looked more like her growing up, she would have felt more accepting of her body. "Would I have looked at my body differently if I were playing with Barbies that looked like me? Would I have accepted my thighs and my round arms and my round stomach a little bit more? Probably," she said. "I think it's absolutely incredible that an iconic image in the fashion world, like Barbie, is keeping up with the times and following along with body diversity in such a big way."
Graham will be honored alongside Gwen Stefani, Simone Biles, Zendaya and the founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, at the GlamourWomen of the Year Awards in Los Angeles.
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By Guest Nicole
Today in news that shouldn’t be news: Young girls who play with stick-thin Barbies are more critical of their bodies than girls who play with bigger dolls.
For a study published in the journal Body Image, researchers randomly assigned 112 girls ages 6 to 8 to four groups: playing with thin Barbie dolls or full-figured dolls modeled after the Hairspray character Tracy Turnblad; Barbie and Tracy were either in swimsuits or “modest” outfits. Researchers asked the girls how they felt about their bodies before and after playing with the dolls.
They repeated the experiment with another 112 girls and less-known dolls, one called Stardoll and another modeled after Mimi Bobeck from The Drew Carey Show. These dolls were dressed in the same clothes as in the first portion of the study.
In both experiments, they found girls who played with the thin dolls wereless satisfied with their bodies than girls who played with the curvier ones; interestingly, the dolls’ clothing didn’t matter. The authors wrote that such body dissatisfaction is concerning because it’s associated with strict dieting, which can be a precursor to eating disorders. Though, at the very least,counting calories is a terrible way to go through life.
The study did not measure how long the effect lasted. And it was conducted before Mattel released the new tall, curvy, and petite Barbies in January, which also feature multiple skin tones and hairstyles. We await the onslaught of New Barbie Research to come.
By Guest Nicole
Confirming what we suspected all along, new research confirms that dolls who have unrealistically thin bodies can cause young girls to have body-image issues.
Published in September issue of the journal Body Image, the dual study looked at girls ages 6 to 8. In one group, the girls played with either traditional Barbie dolls (not the new tall, curvy, or petite versions) or fuller-figured Tracy (Turnblad, from Hairspray!) dolls. Regardless of whether the dolls were dressed in swimsuits or more modest clothing, the girls who played with the Barbies showed a higher dissatisfaction in their own bodies. The girls who played with the curvier dolls experienced more body positivity.
As a safety, researchers had a second group of girls play with dolls that weren't Barbie or Tracy and had either thin and full figures, also dressed modestly or in swimsuits. This group had the same reaction, feeling insecure about their own bodies when they played with the super-skinny dolls.
This news shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has ever picked up a Barbie. The doll's original measurements are so anatomically incorrect that if she were a real person, she’d be forced to walk on all fours and wouldn’t even be able to hold her disproportionate head up. And don't forget her feet, permanently molded into standing on her tip-toes to forever wear high heels.
Earlier this year, Mattel finally responded to the ongoing calls for a healthier role model for young girls to play with, announcing that it was giving Barbie a makeover after 57 years to reflect more diverse (and realistic) body types. Now, girls can play with dolls that look more like them and their friends — curvy, tall, and petite.
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