~Body Image~
What is it?
Body Image Self-Assessment
Ideal Weight
Body Types
Tips for a Positive Body Image
Tips for Staying Healthy
Eating Disorders
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Male Image Issues
Support Groups
Diet Industry
The Media's Effect
More than just Dolls?
More Than Just Dolls?


Young girls believe that Barbie is how a woman is supposed to look (i.e. no fat anywhere on your body, but large breasts). But, if Barbie was a real person, she would be 5’9” tall, have a neck twice the length of a normal human's neck, and weigh 110 pounds, only 76% of her healthy weight. Her measurements would be 39-18-33, and she likely would not be able to menstruate due to being underweight. On top of that, her feet would be too small to support her when she walks.

Click to View Flash Movie by John Riviello
Click the image above to see what a
woman of Barbie’s size would look like.
(requires Macromedia Flash Player).

Batman is another example of an
outrageously muscular action figure.
Compare Batman's measurements
to those of a normal man.

Action Figures

Similarly, young boys are given the impression that men are supposed to have muscles bulging all over their bodies. Take a look at their plastic action-figures like GI Joe Extreme. If GI Joe Extreme were life-size, he would have a 55 inch chest and a 27 inch bicep. In other words, his bicep would be almost as big as his waist and bigger than most competitive body builders. In comparison, the average real-life man of the same height, even a guy who’s fairly athletic, will have biceps that are only about 11.5 inches around; Mark McGwire’s biceps measure "only" about 20 inches.

The "Ruby" Ad Campaign

In 1998, The Body Shop debuted its self-esteem campaign, featuring the generously proportioned doll named "Ruby." Her rubenesque figure graced windows in The Body Shop windows in the UK that year, along with the slogan, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do." She went on to appear in stores in Australia, Asia, and the United States. Ruby was a fun idea, but she carried a serious message. She was intended to challenge stereotypes of beauty and counter the pervasive influence of the cosmetics industry.

Click for Enlarged View of Ruby Ad
Mattel, the makers of Barbie, sued
The Body Shop for this ad.
(Click the image for an enlarged view)

In the United States, the toy company Mattel demanded that The Body Shop pull the images of Ruby from American shop windows. Then, in Hong Kong, posters of Ruby were banned on the Mass Transit Railway because authorities said she would offend passengers. Of course, the much more seriously offensive images of silicone-enhanced blondes in other ads were permitted to stay on the trains.

Statistics on Barbie & Action Figure sizes from the Student Nutrition Action Committee at UCLA
Batman graphic from ABCNEWS.com
Info on the Ruby Ad Campaign from AnitaRoddick.com