“Actor Somy Ali Criticizes Barbie Movie and Its Impact on Children’s Psyche”

Estimated read time 3 min read

As the much-anticipated Barbie movie featuring Margot Robbie releases in theaters, actor turned humanitarian Somy Ali voices her criticism of the iconic doll’s impact on children’s self-perception. Barbie dolls, known for their unattainable beauty standards, have been reigning over young girls’ minds since 1959. Somy Ali, who runs her NGO, No More Tears, speaks out about the harmful message that Barbie creators have been conveying for decades.

Recalling her own experience as a young girl receiving a Barbie doll, Somy Ali shares, “When I moved to the US at the age of 9, I was given a blonde hair blue-eyed Barbie doll for my birthday. To this day, I vividly remember how much I could not relate to her. Her features were unlike mine, particularly her skin color, and she looked fake and phony to me even at nine years old. My concept of beauty, as it is even today, was and is inspired by the likes of Rekha ji, the late Smita Patil Ji, Nandita Das, and models like Seema Hari. I find all of them stunningly beautiful, and in my book, that’s the epitome of beauty.”

Somy goes on to explain how, in 2000, under pressure, Barbie’s creators attempted to change her waist-to-hip ratio to resemble more realistic women’s bodies, portraying some dolls as doctors and career women. However, she criticizes the overall messaging and marketing strategy of the Barbie franchise, which perpetuates harmful beauty standards, leading to body dysmorphic disorders like bulimia and anorexia among young girls.

The humanitarian recalls how a journalist friend who recently saw the Barbie movie was appalled by the gift bag handed to the press, containing skin whitening cream and cleaning supplies. This, she says, reinforces the same old message of light-skinned beauty, rooted in racism and discrimination, which has persisted since the doll’s inception in 1959.

“I find this disgusting and appalling that there have been no changes in countless years with the message the Barbie creators are sending to our youth. It’s like the tobacco industry; we all know that smoking kills, but in spite of lawsuits filed against them, they keep winning and selling to addicts,” Somy expresses her distress.

Somy believes that raising awareness about the damaging impact of Barbie dolls and writing letters to the creators are necessary steps to initiate change. However, she acknowledges that true transformation may take time, much like the realization of the damage caused by tobacco consumption.

As the Barbie movie celebrates its release, Somy Ali’s concerns serve as a reminder of the responsibility the entertainment industry has in promoting positive body image and diversity, especially to its young audience.

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