Ever wonder how big Barbie would be in real life if you scaled her up from her ne plus ultra petite package? (C'mon, admit it.) Amble over to Rutgers University's Douglass College Center and check out a colossal version of everybody's favorite doll.
She's an educational tool constructed by a group called Challenging Unrealistic Views on Eating and Size (CURVES). In yet another effort to persuade the last five or six unconvinced Americans that Barbie's hourglass figure is an unreachable and destructive ideal of female beauty, CURVES assembled a behemoth babe out of tape, panty hose, styrofoam, and cotton. The final dimensions based on the doll's actual hip-to-waist ratio? Barbie is seven feet tall while weighing 110 lbs.
"Men and women are both faced with issues in society that affect their bodies and how they take care of themselves and see themselves," said Douglass College senior Davida Eisenberg, CURVES president.
The "beautiful" men and women to whom children look up are not always the role models they should have, she said. "Being thin [isn't] necessarily … positive," Eisenberg said.
Those are fine sentiments, if a bit late in the fashion show. While Barbie still sells exceptionally well for toymaker Mattel, it's also true that models of beauty–for both women and men–have proliferated wildly over the past several decades. Indeed, whatever punch the original feminist critique of Barbie packed now has about as much appeal to anyone as a "mod hair Ken" (scroll down, though be warned that this link may induce nightmares).