Barbie doll

Barbie doll was recently a target of severe criticism for giving wrong beauty ideal to small girls. Her body measurements are often claimed to be completely unrealistic and “alien-like” if projected to real life dimensions. Different sources are presenting various size conversions, including such unbelievable numbers as 16-inch waist of 32FF bra size. Are Barbie body proportions really that extreme or not?

Most of these conversions to real life size are flawed for three main reasons. First, there isn’t just one Barbie doll body type, but at least three of them. Second, actual measurements vary a lot based of what height or “real life girl” you choose to use to derive other sizes. And third, for some mysterious reason most people tend to think that Barbie doll has huge breasts. But take a longer look again, her cup size is in fact pretty average at most. Check out also measurements of Kim Kardashian, Candice Swanepoel, and Valeria Lukyanova.

Barbie doll real life measurements
Type of doll Modern Vintage
Body shape: Super-skinny type of hourglass (explanation)
Dress size: 0 0
Breasts-Waist-Hips: 32-22-33″ (81-56-84cm) 35-22-32″ (89-56-81cm)
Bra size: 30B 32C
Cup size: B C
Height: 6’1″ (185 cm) 6’1″ (185 cm)
Weight: Both about 100 lbs (45 kg)
Natural breasts or implants? Could be natural (how do we know this?)

Let’s take a look on those issues. First, there were slight changes in doll proportions over the time and what looks like a small difference on a tiny doll, it’s huge difference once you multiply it to real life size. In fact, the only size consistent through Barbie history is the height – the doll is eleven and half inches tall. Older vintage barbies have 5 1/2″ around bust, 3 1/2″ around waist, and 5″ around hips. More modern figures have these sizes 5″ (bust), 3 1/2″ (waist), and 5 1/4″ (hips). There are also some special editions like Silkstone & New Retro Barbies that have again different measurements.

The height of real life Barbie is even more important. Some articles about this topic based all calculation on average girl height, which is 5″7′ and derived all other measurements from this number, coming to incredible 16 inches around waist etc. But would real life Barbie, Miss Perfect, be only of average height? She’s most likely representing some supermodel. We assume in our calculation in chart above, that she’s quite tall – most likely 6″1′ which is still not extremely rare height.

And last but not least – Barbie’s breasts. People are so used to call a big-breasted girl a barbie, that they ignore visible and easily verifiable fact that doll itself doesn’t have extreme bra size. In fact, if modern Barbie doll had grown to living 6″1′ tall, skinny girl, her cup size would have be most likely B. Which is, especially in western developed countries, below average size of breasts.

The bottom line is that while being somewhat unrealistic skinny, Barbie doll doesn’t posses extreme proportions, as it’s sometimes claimed. Moreover, Barbie doll measurements aren’t exceptional in this – most artists know, that in order to paint handsome looking character in smaller scale, they have to use embellished measurements, such as figure that is eight heads tall, while people on average have height of seven and half heads.