What’s Wrong With Joe and Barbie?

by Tyler “Melee” Minton

If you’re a man, you’ve probably owned at least one GI Joe in your lifetime.  While you destroyed every anthill on your battlefield, the girl next door with cooties was busy brushing the hair of a Barbie, which you never understood.  A lot has changed over the years.  We still don’t understand girls, but cooties have turned to STDs and Joe and Barbie are no longer in every home.  In fact, in recent years, Joe and Barbie have suffered critical commentary by many psychologists and feminists who claim they promote bad body image.  These toys, critics claim, drive children to desire an unrealistic body and sets them up for failure when they fall short.  These unnatural body styles also may lead to things such as eating disorders or the dreaded steroid use.  Sure, over the years Joe has been following the Greyskull LP and Barbie has been to the plastic surgeon, but are these really images that are damaging to our youth?  Let’s consider this…

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 10% of Americans have suffered from some type of eating disorder in their lifetime.  While this statistic is astonishing, it holds little light to the 61% of Americans who are overweight or obese.  Yeah, that’s right-  Despite all the youth working hard to look like Joe and Barbie, 1 out of every 5 Americans are still obese.  Did we all work hard to look like our favorite toy and give up once we fell short?  Not likely…  I find it far more likely that we didn’t try hard enough to be like Joe and Barbie.

Is it really that bad for us to teach our children that body image matters?  We all know we feel better about ourselves when we look good.  Studies have proven that employers are more likely to hire the man with strong pecs over the man with breasts.  Better body image is generally synonymous with better health and with millions of government dollars going to obesity related illnesses a year, is it not fair to say it’s our responsibility as Americans to raise healthy kids?  I’m not downplaying eating disorders and from someone who used to suffer from one I can personally tell you that it’s a serious matter.  My personal argument with these critics is in the fact that we worry about children developing poor body image, while providing them with the food and video games that will destroy their bodies.  What’s worse, is the fact that as Americans we are growing calloused to the sight of an obese body!

While it’s been proven that the body dimensions of these toys truly are unattainable, I see nothing wrong with setting an outlandish goal only to fall short and still be better for the struggle.  I think it’s far more damaging to raise a child who doesn’t appreciate the importance of working hard to achieve a nice body.  I’d rather my child be upset because he can’t look just like GI Joe, than fat and lonely because it’s easier that way.  It astonishes me to see this country cater towards the overweight and out of shape.  A morbidly obese individual can now receive disability for their “disease” rather than being punished for their gluttony and irresponsible behavior.  If a kid keeps biting we go nuts and punish it but see nothing wrong with a grown man biting food way more than he should.  I often hear my female clients say they were made fun of by coworkers for their muscular arms and legs or for their abs, but she’d be in the unemployment line if she called them disgusting blobs.

It pains me above all else to hear people justify their bodies with idiocy and lies.  You’ll hear women quote “Marilyn Monroe was a size 14!”, while not understanding that in the 50s that equated closer to a size 4 by today’s standards.  I hear guys justify their guts with garbage like, “I’m on a strength cycle” or “Abs are useless muscles”.  Well, I have news for you-  You can be strong with low body fat, and abs are in fact among the most used muscles during intercourse.  Useless, eh?

So, if you’re worried that your kid (who is in his room shooting cops and beating old ladies with bats) will develop self esteem issues from GI Joe or Barbie, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself what you wouldn’t give to be able to look more like that and less like the unused basketball in the garage…

Tyler Minton is a Professional Mixed Martial Arts Fighter, gym owner, father of an ever growing Bulldog empire, and valuable member of the Villain International team. Look for him to claim the UFC Welterweight title within the next two years.


10 Responses

  1. There goes Tyler again, blaming all of the worlds problems on video games!

    May 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    • Haha. Knew you’d like that Danimal…

      June 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

  2. David R.

    Well said Tyler.

    May 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

  3. Yes I can Google it myself, but if you had references for the following it would be awesome:
    *) “critical commentary by many psychologists and feminists who claim they promote bad body image”
    *) “1 out of every 5 Americans are still obese”
    *) “Studies have proven that employers are more likely to hire the man with strong pecs over the man with breasts.”
    *) “in the 50s that equated closer to a size 4”

    Great article.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:13 am

  4. Danimal,
    I thought you’d like that! Haha

    June 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm

  5. Thanks Benjamin,
    As a double major in English and Nutrition I definitely understand the importance of citing work, however since graduation I despise doing it and will avoid it at times when I feel the audience could care less anyways. I assumed this would be an audience that didn’t care but you have proven me wrong! Haha. Glad you liked the article man!

    June 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm

  6. Vim

    Im 50/50 on this one, and that doesn’t happen very often. I genuinely do think that girls feeling like that have to live up to the images deemed acceptable by today’s ridiculously superficial society is just wrong. Boys too, but its much more prevalent in girls. But in the same breath, i know it shouldn’t be acceptable to be a fat fucking slob.

    I think the difference is this: people should feel the need to be healthy. They shouldn’t feel the NEED to look a certain way. If they WANT to look a certain way, all power to them, but nothing is gained by making someone feel inadequate because they don’t look like barbie or kim kardashian.

    People should look however the fuck they want. Im sporting a goatee and a mohawk right now – hardly fitting into society’s perfect little picture. But yes, society shouldn’t let people think that being dangerously overweight is acceptable.

    Also, ill have no problem with my kids shooting cops in their room 😉

    June 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm

  7. I think society is failing to recognize obesity for what it is. We are worried about the wrong things.

    For example, Mention steroids and everyone in the room has a negative opinion, then mention a BigMac and people will ask where they can get one. Not promoting steroids but, it doesnt take a statistician to see what is a bigger threat to the american public.

    Good thought provoking article!

    June 17, 2012 at 12:10 am

  8. S

    Food is a comfort to many people. If they have body image issues, they will find it easier to turn to food than to lose the weight or go under the knife.

    Barbies aren’t only influencing young women into having eating disorders but also into having issues with shame and self hatred which can make them try to find comfort in overeating and sweatpants.

    There’s no doubt that’s a lazy thing to do, but saying that forcing unrealistic expectations on children about how they should look actually has a good outcome isn’t true to the least.

    Also, “Marilyn Monroe was a size 14!” is usually said by women who feel uncomfortable with their weight. It’s obvious that it’s their way of justifying their unhealthy eating habits, but they feel the need to say those things because they feel guilty about it deep down.

    September 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

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