A Barbie for every shape and does it cost more money to be a girl?

BBC School Reporters Lili, Holly, Lauren, Ellie and Olivia investigate whether Mattel’s changes to the Barbie will help promote a healthy body image with young girls.

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Barbie finally becomes a real woman – with a more realistic figure

Mattel have introduced a new line of Barbie dolls with a range of shapes, colours and sizes. With her tiny waist, thin legs, and petite frame, Barbie has been accused of promoting unhealthy body image for over five decades. But now, in her biggest update since 1959, Barbie comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, from a tiny frame and thigh gap, to curvy hips and thighs. The company has released three new realistic type of body shapes, thirty hair colours, twenty-two eye colours and seven skin tones this week, in order to reflect a different view of beauty. But are girls still pressured to look like Barbie?


More pressure than ever to achieve so-called perfection?


Are looks more important than ever for our younger generation? Do they feel pressured to look good and if so, is there a reason? Does their childhood best friend Barbie have anything to do with it? We have interviewed our peers, by asking them ‘Are young people pressured to look good?’ Most do feel the “pressure” to look “perfect” because they are “scared of what people think. However many also say “I don’t see the point in worrying. We discovered that 70% of the pupils feel pressured, 25% don’t feel pressured, and 5% are not sure. We’ve also asked our personal education teacher, Mrs Parry Davies and she said ‘Recently I have noticed that young girls are self-conscious of what they look like around other students.’ This point stated by Mrs Parry Davies gives us evidence that girls are under pressure of looking good around fellow peers and teachers.



Will the new Barbie new dolls promote a healthy and realistic self-image?


89% of the girls in my class believe that the new Barbie would make a difference and discussions concluded that “it will let very young girls realize that everyone is perfect in their own way.” We also worked out that 89% of the girls in my class believe that this would make a difference. One of peers stated that “it is important for Barbies to look different, you know like the real people in the world.” Despite a positive response from our class only time will tell whether the new Barbie will provide a positive body image for young women.


Why are girls paying more for items in shops than boys?

Recently, The Times newspaper published an investigation, which found that women are paying up to 37% more for items in shops than men. School reporters Ffion, Lucy-Mae, Ffion and Gwen wanted to find out more. Here is their report.

Women’s products such as skin-care and toiletries are charged considerably higher than men’s, according to the Times. and we wanted to find out if anyone in the Rhondda had first-hand experience of this.

First, we asked the 17 girls in our class and 15 of them weren’t surprised by the news that the items they buy in shops cost more than the boys’. Maria Miller, the politician in charge of a group of MPs who look at women’s rights said on Twitter that ‘retailers needed to explain.” We wanted to look for our own retailers who charge women more than men. To find an example of this so we went on a Saturday afternoon to one popular high street shop. A plain white t-shirt was being sold to men for £9.99 whilst a similar one would cost a woman £12.99! Also, a pink razor will cost you more than a blue one, in most shops!

We then asked a shopper Mrs Lloyd; she said, “I went into a high-street store recently to buy a gift for my friends newly born twins – a boy and a girl and found a difference in price for pink items and blue items.” An anonymous shopper also told us “I use the same razor as my boyfriend’s because they are cheaper” adding “if you go into the supermarket and buy a certain product then you should expect a similar product for both men and women to be the same price.” Dafydd,  a boy in our year believes that “retailers expect more girls to go shopping.”

We also conducted our own research online and found that high street shops had published statements on their website.





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