Tuesday, February 11

The eye of the beholder

Momma and I were extremely interested in a recent Slate article that once again criticized the measurements of Barbie and other modern Vinyl Americans.

Complaints have existed for years, and a 2006 University of Sussex study concluded that dolls like Barbie, "may damage girls’ body image, which would contribute to an increased risk of disordered eating and weight cycling."

Let's take a look, shall we?

Barbie and the other dolls are at 1:6 scale, while American Girl is about 1:3 scale, although the occasional 1:4 and 1:2 items can work, too. (BTW, eBay has an excellent doll scale guide.)

Barbie dolls:
Height: 11.5 inches
Bust: 5 inches
Waist: 3.5 inches

If human:
Height: 5'9"

Bust: 30 inches
Waist: 21 inches
Monster High dolls:

Height: 10.5 inches
Bust: 2.75 inches
Waist: 2 inches

If human:
Height: 5'3"
Bust: 16.5 inches
Waist: 12 inches 

Bratz dolls:
MGA Entertainment
Height: 10 inches

Bust: 3.5 inches 
Waist: 2.5 inches 

If human:
Height: 5'
Bust: 21 inches
Waist: 15 inches
American Girl dolls:

Height: 18 inches
Bust: 11.25 inches
Waist: 11 inches

Thankfully she liked American Girl proportions:

For the American Girl dolls, which are designed to look like girls and not teenagers or adult women, I multiplied the dimensions by 3.5 to put the girls in the 4-foot range. If American Girl dolls came to life to help their Swedish-immigrant family on the farm or miraculously escape American slavery, they would stand 4'6" tall and have 33.75" busts and 33" waists. Good for them!

While Momma and I both agree to some points of the argument, we still stand by Monster High and its 2011-2013 slogan:  "Be yourself, be unique, be a monster!"

We LOVE how these dolls celebrate differences. As well as having individual face and body molds, many compare Ghoulia to children with autism, klutzes relate to Frankie, short people like Draculaura and Twyla, and Steampunks like Robecca.

Yes, they are skinny but, hey, they are monsters! I certainly don't intend on ripping my fiberfill guts out and replace them with gears.


  1. All good points! Perhaps I don't get too worked up over it because I don't have any girl children, but I've always thought the handwringing over doll proportions is a bit over the top--especially with Monster High dolls which aren't even supposed to look realistic. I remember reading an article where a bunch of moms freaking out about the copy on Clawdeen Wolf's box talking about her having to shave a lot! Of course she has to shave--she's a werewolf! These folks also seem to forget that Barbie's wonky proportions were to get her clothes (which often had real buttons and zippers on them) to fit her right.

  2. I always get really annoyed at the articles remarking about how dolls can give girls psychological issues that result in eating disorders. Are they just guessing? Have they studied girls into womanhood and taken notes of all the variables in their lives? There are many more factors in play than doll proportions for a young woman to develop an unhealthy body image and eating disorder.

    Dolls, especially fashion dolls, are not real. Look at the runways during Fashion Week...none of the fashion dolls would be models because fashion dolls actually have curves. What does sometimes concern me with the fashion dolls are the skimpy outfits and poses, but I understand that they follow fashion trends.

    Anyway, I played with Barbie dolls all the time when I was younger and never felt the need to look exactly like her. I've wanted to have her dream house or car or clothes, but look exactly like her...never.

    If you ask me I think the proportions were made as they were so that little girls with little hands could hold onto her better. :)