First I was thinking of the idea of sex. What if there are little boys out in the world that play with Barbies and want to play in Virtual Barbie? There are not avatars that are male or for boys to identify with. I know it is “Barbie World” which is typically associated with girls in our American society but why? Little boys should be allowed to play with Barbie if they please, and they should be allowed to enjoy the virtual Barbie world just like everyone else. There should be male avatars that encompass the male sex. Barbie World is pretty much communicating that only girls are allowed in this world and that boys who play with Barbie are not wanted or allowed in the virtual world.
This brings me to my second topic of avatars and identity in virtual Barbie. The avatars available to choose from are so unrealistic to real girls body types…who would have thought?!? (sarcasm) I mean this is “Virtual Barbie” could we really expect the avatars to look realistic. I once read that if Barbie was a real person her intestines would not fit in her stomach and her back would break because of the size of her chest. It’s interesting to view Barbie in real world compared to the avatars you can choose in this virtual world. The avatars kind of look like a mix between an in-larged Polly Pocket and a strange Barbie. In Barbie World there is only one body type you can choose from which is not good for young girls joining the world. Not every girl joining Virtual Barbie is skinny and they do not allow adjusting of the body type. First, these young girls are buying Barbies which are not exemplifying a true scale of how a human body should be, and then the virtual world also creates a false image of a girl’s body. The avatars in Barbie World even have boobs and the majority of girls entering this world probably do not have boobs yet. I guess the question is: what are these images teaching young girls in our society about their identities?
Identity shapes an individual’s personality and self-esteem. Our identities make us who we are, and how we view ourselves. In my own opinion I think Barbie and Barbie World are creating images for young girl’s on how they SHOULD look based on society’s standards not how they ACTUALLY look. In our society there is such a huge emphasis on being thin rather than being healthy. Maybe if we had better images for young girls to identify with we could change the view of beauty in our society. It is not healthy for these young girls to think that they need to be skinny to fit in and be beautiful. We should have more of a focus on being healthy and in shape rather than just being skinny. Girls should learn to be comfortable in their own skin and to be proud of what their mothers gave them, rather than trying to conform to a false identity to feel pretty. These avatars can be adjusted some to provide girls with a sense of autonomy and uniqueness but the physique of the avatar can not be adjusted for girls who are larger or skinnier.
In the future Barbie World should incorporate male avatars into their world and also create a tool so young girls and others entering the virtual world can adjust/edit their avatars to look more like themselves. I think if they made these changes more girls would feel better about themselves and more comfortable knowing that their outward appearance is accepted in both the virtual and actual world.
CLASS QUESTION : In your own opinion do you think things like actual Barbie dolls and virtual worlds like Barbie World impact how younger girls view their own identity and body figures? Do you think that the images of Barbie's physique can impact how young girls create their own image of what beauty is & how they should personally look to be beautiful?
What are your own views/opinions of boys playing/having Barbies and girls playing/having GI.Joe dolls? Do you think that switching gender specific toys in children is good or bad?