Meeting high expectations is hard work. So why bother challenging the norm when you can just turn to plastic surgery? That’s what some women resort to after finding themselves competing with and being influenced by childhood frenemy Barbie.
The Mattel-created toy, who has ridiculous proportions only found in comic books and in the fantasies of gay and straight men (36-18-38), has been the companion of millions of women and girls around world for 50 years and has found herself transported into the real world via fantastic plastic enhancements.
Take the young lady above for example. Some say she was harmed by Barbie, that the doll, which champions a Eurocentric idea of beauty, distorted hers and millions of children’s perception of themselves. Others view the action figure, who is monogamous, straight and most likely, never kissed a girl or owned a sex toy, is a harmless tool and companion for little girls.
One person who is not buying Barbie as a harmless enabler is college student and former high school cheerleader Galia Slayer, who built a life-size Barbie to illustrate the dangers of eating disorders.
“In January 2007,” Slayen wrote recently on her Huffington Post College blog, “I was looking for a way to make my peers realize the importance of eating disorders and body image issues. I was frustrated after quitting the cheerleading squad, frustrated with pressures to look and act a certain way and most of all frustrated with the eating disorder controlling my life. I wanted to do something that would turn others’ apathy into action.”
Go to the next page for more Barbie.
Slayen built a Barbie from wood, chicken wire, newspapers and balloons and dragged it to the “Today Show” and explained that if Barbie were real, she would walk on all fours and would not be able to menstruate.
“Despite her bizarre appearance,” says Slayen, “Barbie provides something that many advocacy efforts lack. She reminds us of something we once loved, while showing us the absurdity of our obsession with perfection.”
“I’m as plastic as Barbie – and I love it,” enthused Sarah Burge, a British national who has had over 40 surgical procedures to look like Barbie, on her website LivingBarbie.com. “I have invested a lot of time and put a lot of energy into my appearance so I’m excited about the new opportunities on the horizon; especially if it means revealing my surgery secrets to an even-wider audience. If I can look the way I do at my age – then anyone can. It just takes discipline and the correct medical advice.”
Burge may be capitalizing on her obsession but imagine what her life would be like if her parent’s hadn’t introduced her to a plastic surgeon at the age of 7.
After the break, more real life Barbies.
Above: A fashion show celebrating Barbie’s 50 years of perfection terrorism.
“Barbie wishes she were me,” says Los Angeles billboard queen Angelyne. No one knows her real age, how many surgeries she’s had, or who finances her billboard endeavors. But the California native, who came in 35th in a state wide government election of 135 candidates, is a cultural icon appearing in songs, movies and television shows.
Meet Sarah Burge, another real life Barbie, this time from Britain. The secret to her success as a life-sized plastic doll? £180,000 ($294,000.00) worth of cosmetic surgery over the past 40 years. Sarah’s first procedure took place at the tender age of 7 when her mother decided to have her ears pinned back so that she could avoid excessive teasing in school. Since that time, Burge has endured 27 procedures including several face-lifts, a handful of lipo treatments, a nose job, breast reduction surgery and silicone face implants.
Galia Slayen and her homemade Barbie. The doll is used to drive home points about eating disorders and the impossibilities of perfection.