Barbie Designer Defends Doll's Strange Proportions, Dismisses Body Image Concerns

Barbie Designer Defends Doll's Unrealistic Proportions

It's all for Barbie's clothes.

At least that's what Kim Culmone, vice president of design for Barbie maker Mattel, said in defense of the doll's impossible proportions in a recent interview.

"Barbie’s body was never designed to be realistic. She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress," Culmone told Fast Company's Co.Design, adding that Barbie's bizarre proportions are necessary for designers to create outfits for the doll. "If you’re going to take a fabric that’s made for us, and turn a seam for a cuff or on the body, her body has to be able to accommodate how the clothes will fit her."

This is reportedly the first time that Culmone, described as "Barbie's lead designer," has spoken up about the famous doll's unrealistic shape. As The Verge points out, Mattel has "rarely remarked on its Barbie dolls' controversial body proportions," despite the many criticisms that have been leveled against the toy company for creating a doll that may fuel body hatred among young girls.

Culmone, however, roundly dismissed these body image concerns, telling Co.Design that she doesn't believe children compare themselves with their dolls. As the outlet points out, however, a 2006 University of Sussex study concluded that unrealistically skinny dolls like Barbie may "damage girls’ body image."

Last year, released a striking infographic that highlighted just how strange and impossible Barbie's body is by showing what the doll would look like if she were a real woman. According to the infographic, Barbie's body would be so disproportionate that she likely wouldn't be able to have all the necessary internal organs to live, due to her tiny mid-section and 16-inch waist.

Also in 2013, artist Nickolay Lamm created proportionate 3D images of Barbie standing next to a human being, as well as images of a Barbie doll with the measurements of an average 19-year-old woman.

"Some people say that Barbie is just a toy and that we shouldn't pay so much attention to her body proportions," Lamm told the Huffington Post in May. "However, if skinny models in advertisements get so much scrutiny, I feel Barbie, a doll which million of girls play with, should be open to critique as well."

Take a look at Lamm's "average-sized" Barbie in the photos below, and tell us what you think of the debate in the comments section.

Before You Go

Barbie With An Average Woman's Body

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