Barbie’s New Proportions: Will They Measure Up?

     Only recently did Mattel release a statement that declared they would be coming out with a line of three new Barbie dolls. For the first time in 57 years, the dolls would be getting new body shapes: curvy, tall, and petite. At first glance, one might be excited that Mattel is finally recognizing that 5’9” and 110 lbs. (original Barbie’s estimated proportions if she were real) reflects an extremely low percentage of women’s figures. While this may indeed reflect a response to feminism and/or a cultural shift, are these changes enough or are they merely superficial?

     The “curvy” Barbie doll by far has the most changes compared to the original Barbie. To start, her face is visibly fuller which actually looks more like what the average person has. Her stomach and backside are wider, but her empire waist top clearly accentuates an hourglass shape. “Naked”, curvy Barbie displays wider calves, thighs, and hips. Mattel notes that she will not be able to fit in many of the original clothes and will therefore have a “special” clothing line to herself. Another change in appearance includes larger feet, though they hardly look that way from the “sneak-peak” pictures Mattel released. Lastly, and perhaps the most striking, is the fact that this doll possesses long blue locks of hair.

     Mattel has come a long way with the marketing of the dolls since Barbie’s “birth” in 1959. In 1963, the Barbie Baby-Sits doll came equipped with a booklet with the title “How to Lose Weight.” It’s advice inside? “Don’t eat.” Just ten years later, the first surgeon Barbie was released- a time when only 9% of all doctors were female. In 1980, multicultural versions were released… with “Caucasian features”, critics voiced. Later during 1992, Mattel got themselves in hot water again after a doll was released that uttered the phrase “Math class is tough!” Lastly in 2015, a huge expansion of the line included 23 new dolls with a variety of skin tones, hair colors and styles, eye colors, and facial features.

While some are excited about what seems to be Mattel embracing diversity, others wonder if this is a means to capitalize off of empowerment and the expansion of their product line (which now includes four times the accessories and clothes). In 2012, Barbie sales across the world dropped 3%, another 6% in 2013, and 16% in 2014. In addition, the Disney Princess line which the company lost in 2015 took away another half a billion dollars per year.

Do these three new Barbie dolls do enough to address the problems of body image and self-empowerment consumers have been worried about, or are these changes only superficial?

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have issues with body image, self-esteem, or an eating disorder, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources: Dockterman, Eliana. “A Barbie for Every Body.” Time 8 Feb. 2016: 44-51. Print.

By: Scout H

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Anorexia Nervosa: How New Health Trends Can Make Eating Disorders Thrive

 

anorexia nervosa blog photo With all of the new trends regarding fitness, clean and organic eating, and juicing, it’s hard not to get caught up in society’s idea of what it means to be fit or skinny. For women, it’s always been about being thin and young looking, while men struggle to gain muscle and have six pack abs. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to exercise and eat healthier, there are still those who expect immediate results and, when they don’t get them, turn to extreme methods. So it’s no wonder that we also see an increase in eating disorders every time a new health craze hits.

There are several different varieties of eating disorders, but this blog will be primarily discussing Anorexia Nervosa and its effects on the youth of today. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by refusal to eat and, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, it has the highest fatality rate of any psychiatric disorder and frequently coexists with other mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Here are some symptoms to be on the lookout for in case you or a loved one may be suffering from Anorexia:

  • Extremely low body weight
  • Severe food restrictions
  • Relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal/ healthy body weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image and self-esteem that is influenced by perceptions of body weight or shape
  • Amenorrhea, or the absence of at least 3 menstrual cycles

Anorexia is a serious disease and could lead to other medical complications such as osteoporosis, low blood pressure, brittle hair and nails, mild anemia, and multi-organ failure, just to name a few. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from Anorexia, the licensed counselors and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you.  Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Self Esteem: The Media’s Influence

By Kimberly Made

self esteemWith the way women are constantly being bombarded with expectations of how we should act and what we should look like, it’s no surprise how many suffer with problems of low self esteem. Body dissatisfaction is one of the biggest predictors of eating disorders and can go on to cause depression and anxiety. It’s as if mass media is working overtime to try to make us feel bad about ourselves. Cosmetic companies are always telling us what we should think is beautiful and that we need their products to be able to achieve it. Over time, we subconsciously begin accepting these ideas and start questioning whether or not we are good enough the way we are. We then buy into their gimmicks to get us to spend our money on their products and in turn, find our self esteem dwindling.

Portrayals of women in the media set unrealistic standards of both appearance and behavior. The more attention we pay to media messages, the more likely we are to experience self-esteem disorders. We need to stop and think about why we want to be a certain way. Is it really what we want or were we conditioned to believe that this is what we should want? We must take time to find what it is that makes us valuable. That way, we won’t need to look to the media for what they define beauty as.

If you or anyone you know suffers from self esteem issues or eating disorders, there is help. It may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional and receive therapy for eating disorders. If you are in Manhattan, New York, feel free to call us at 212-722-1920 and if you are in Bergen County, New Jersey call us at the Paramus location, 201-368-3700 to make an appointment with one of our own therapists, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists.

Arista Counseling and Psychiatric ServicesContact the Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices at 201-368-3700 or 212-722-1920. Visit www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

The Anorexic Mind

anorexia 2By: Riddhi Patel

“I turn on to my side and feel my ribs. I am relieved to feel them pushing through the skin more than they were some days before” – Anonymous anorexic patient

In most cases, people that have the eating disorder, anorexia, see themselves as overweight even though they are dangerously thin. The irrational thought that fat should not exist on their body starts to consume their mind and eventually they become obsessed with losing weight. Researchers are finding that this disorder may be caused by an interaction of biological, psychological and environmental factors.

“How wonderful it is to feel my bones. I tell myself this is success. The success I’ve deserved for so long.” – Anonymous anorexic patient

A person, usually a female, suffering from anorexia begins to develop unusual eating habits such as skipping meals, picking out a few foods and eating these in small quantities, or weighing and portioning food. People with anorexia may also frequently check their body weight and use other techniques to control their weight such as compulsively exercising or forcing oneself to vomit.

“Patience is a key factor in recovering from this eating disorder. It is not easy, but it is not impossible and it is absolutely worth it. I feel like I got the life that I deserve back and there is hope for the future” – Recovering anorexic patient

Treatment of anorexia calls for psychotherapy that involves three main steps. The first step is to restore the weight lost due to the extreme dieting and purging. The second step is to treat the psychological disturbances such as distortion of body image and low self-esteem. The third step is to achieve long-term remission and rehabilitation. Early diagnosis and treatment play a huge role in the increase of treatment success rate.

If you or anyone you know suffers from anorexia, bulimia, restrictive eating disorders, or compulsive overeating, there is help. It may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional and receive therapy for eating disorders. If you are in Manhattan, New York, feel free to call us at 212-722-1920 and if you are in Bergen County, New Jersey call us at the Paramus location, 201-368-3700 to make an appointment with one of our own therapists, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists