Thursday February 22nd 2018



How Barbie Helps Us See That Healthy is the New Skinny


My mom was smart.  She didn’t allow Barbie in the house.  At the time, I pouted and wanted one of those round patent leather cases with her traveling wardrobe, and of course, Ken waiting ever-patiently in the car that was way too small for that case to fit in.

So I never really aspired to Barbie’s proportions from an up close and personal point of view.  Instead, I saw her out of the corner of my eye, ever present on the cultural horizon as that unattainable blonde doll who makes women cringe with the impossibility of her measurements.

Well much has been written of that impossibility, and now we have Barbie to thank for participating in a great visual demonstration of just that.

According to her blog:

Plus-size model Katie Halchishick, co-founder of Healthy is the New Skinny and the Perfectly Unperfected Projecis featured this month in an article for O Magazine.  Shot by famed photographer Matthew Rolston, Katie stands naked (the first nude in O history), holding an equally bare Barbie doll.   Dotted lines, of the sort that might be made by a cosmetic surgeon (or a photo editor preparing a retouch), cover Katie, indicating what would have to be cut away in order for her to have Barbie’s body.

It’s a striking photo.  There’s something revolutionary about a naked plus-size model.   Think how often this image from French Elle of Tara Lynn has been reblogged – and remember the reaction to this famous Lizzie Miller photo in Glamour?  What sets the O photo apart is the powerful reminder of how far even such a gorgeous model as Katie falls short of an unattainable ideal.

And therein, dear reader, lies the rub and the brilliance of my pre-feminist mother.  None of us should or can attain such a distorted view of the female form.  Making “Healthy is the New Skinny” the mantra she didn’t have the words for, but had the sense to inherently know.


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9 Responses to “How Barbie Helps Us See That Healthy is the New Skinny”

  1. Dominique says:

    the point is not that the doll puts the woman in a bad light…just the opposite. the model, in all her believable glory makes us see the audacity of anyone trying to emulate barbie as an ideal.

  2. Gus says:

    I can’t tell how the doll is portraying plus sized woman in a bad light. She should not hold the Barbie Doll just under her chin, for us to get a better look at it she should raise it above her head.

  3. Ankie van Es says:

    Tinksmagic, thank you for your comment, was thinking exactly the same. This is NOT a plus-sized model, this is just a stunning lady. I believe Model would be the right name. But what a great photo and a great campaign!

  4. Dominique says:

    thanks for the note nicole…in fact, we are on the search for a more conscious ad network and sponsors!

  5. nicole gilfillan says:

    i could not agree more that the idea of what healthy looks like has got to change! the notion that what is on the outside is all that is taken into consideration is ridiculous! it is ironic, though, that next to this article is an advertisement for Anthropologie featuring a stick-skinny model…….

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  7. Dominique says:

    tink i’d have to agree that she is a woman we can relate to in size. that label of “plus” is one the fashion industry tags on. and that is what i love about this image…she is healthy-looking and beautiful, making “healthy is the new skinny” an even more appealing tagline, and healthier than looking at a size 0 girl who could probably do with eating a healthy dose of good fat!

  8. tinksmagic says:

    She’s “Plus sized”? Are you kidding me? I’m the same build and I’m a far cry from Plus anything! Let’s get realistic people, no wonder people’s perception of Barbie is wrong, the average build woman clearly cannot even compete with Plus sized ones… I guess if you’re not formed like Barbie, it’s clearly assumed everyone else is Plus sized!!!

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