Anatomical Barbie Design Exposes Doll’s Distorted Skeletal Structure
Toy autopsy reveals the unrealistic standards placed on children's body image
Barbie is a role model for young girls, but when you see the unnatural way in which her body is put together, you might not want your daughters to follow in her footsteps. Conceived by Jason Freeny, the anatomical Barbie shows how the toy’s insides would look if it were human. That includes squashed organs and a distorted skeletal structure, proof that the bleach blonde plaything promotes an impossible standard of beauty.
To create the bisected Barbie, Freeny has to use scientific illustrations to guide his creation of the toy’s inner anatomy. Then he cuts away half of the toy, and meticulously inserts the hand-sculpted clay components into their proper position within the body. As you can see from the pictures, Barbie’s frame doesn’t even have enough space to fit all of the essential organs. Most of them have to be crammed in alongside one another, which probably wouldn’t enable them to to function so well.
While some might feel the toys are a bit strong for children to play with, Freeny has discovered that cultural programming means it’s only the adults that are apprehensive. “I believe that being frightened by inner anatomy is a learned thing. It’s something that’s taught to kids by society, rather than something that’s innate.”
The anatomical sculptures don’t just stop at Barbie either. Freeny has turned his hand to characters from Toy Story, Finding Nemo, My Little Poney, and the Disney stable. Each of them is a fascinating look inside make-believe characters, all of which you can check out on in the galleries on his website.
When we’re talking about things that are made up, it’s understandable that they aren’t going to have perfectly correct anatomy, but Barbie is something different. She comes with cars, houses, and other accessories that promote a certain way of living. The only problem is that if kids want to emulate that life, there’s a good chance that body image will get wrapped up in there as well.
Images by Jason Freeny