All-Too-Realistic Body Image


Feministe reports on a popular Middle-Eastern doll who sports Barbie's curves, but keeps them modestly hidden away under a hijab. The American version has been accused of setting an unrealistic standard for prepubescent girls, but the problem with her Muslim counterpart Fulla may be just the opposite:

"My friends and I loved Barbie more than anything," [a 15-year-old girl] said. "But maybe it's good that girls have Fulla now. If the girls put scarves on their dolls when they're young, it might make it easier when their time comes. Sometimes it is difficult for girls to put on the hijab. They feel it is the end of childhood." "Fulla shows girls that the hijab is a normal part of a woman's life."

Of course, I'll agree with Feministe's Jill that there's nothing wrong with a genuinely free choice to wear the hijab, but as she puts it:

There's something incredibly painful about that quote, isn't there? When a doll serves to ease you out of a life of relative freedom and into one where it seems that at least some young women feel very contrained, and where they recognize that something has been lost?