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The New Average Barbie; a Big Step Toward a Healthier Body Image for Girls

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

If you grew up with Barbie, you mayhave heard there’s a new girl in town. Her name is Lammily. She is the newplastic doll whose motto is, “Average is beautiful.” Her body shape is based onaverages of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. She is not relatedor affiliated with Mattel’s Barbie nor does she want to be. Lammily is veryactive, and unlike Barbie, whose primary attributes were her hair, body shapeand pink car, Lammily is active. She plays ball, kicks a ball and is able toout jump any doll.

Lammily isn’t for sale on toyshelves yet, but if parents, teachers and mentors have their way, she will besoon. “Parents have complained about the challenge of raising healthy tweensand teens long enough,” says Nickolay Lamm, the graphic designer of Lammily.His production to make Lammily available on shelves is a crowd-sourced groupwho wants to promote realistic standards of beauty. Unlike GI Joe, Batman orSpiderman, Barbie has never had special powers or weapons to use. Her weaponswere her beauty, and that gives the wrong message to girls. What if they don’thave Barbie’s breasts, waist, hips or hair? Lammily provides a healthier self-concept.You can kick a ball, you can do what you want and still be beautiful enough.Your clothes don’t have to be revealing to attract attention. Being authenticis cool.

Lammily is a step in the rightdirection toward building healthier body images for girls and boys, but we cando more. A recent report noted an increase in plastic surgery among teens dueto the “selfie epidemic.” Kids are bombarded with narrow standards of beautyand self-worth. Talk to your child about the tips below. Be part of their team.If they are concerned, be concerned and do what you can to reassure them.  A healthy body image is the foundation ofhealthy confidence.

Tips forimproving your body image (for tweens and teens):

You are not born with a body image; you learn it fromsignificant people in your life. Some people think they need to change how theylook or act to feel good about themselves, but all you need to do is change theway you see your body and how you think about yourself.

1.    The first thing to do isrecognize that your body is your own, no matter what shape, size, or color itcomes in. If you’re very worried about your weight or size, check with yourdoctor to verify that things are OK. But it’s no one’s business but your ownwhat your body is like. The only thing you know for sure is that it will changeas you go through puberty.

2.    Think about whichaspects of your appearance you can realistically change and which you can’t.Everyone (even the most perfect-seeming celeb) has things about themselves thatthey can’t change, and need to accept – like their height or their parents.Changing how you act is much more powerful than changing how you look.

3.    If there are thingsabout yourself that you want to change and can (such as how fit you are or yourskin care), do this by making goals for yourself. For example, if you want toget fit, make a plan to exercise every day and eat nutritious foods. Then keeptrack of your progress until you reach your goal. If you don’t like the pimpleson your skin, ask your parents if you can go to the doctor to get appropriatemedicine for your skin to be clear. Meeting a challenge you set for yourself isa great way to boost self-esteem!

4.    Don’t ever talk badabout yourself, and don’t let others talk bad about themselves when they arewith you. Try building your self-esteem by giving yourself three complimentsevery day. It can be anything from the way you listened to your friend’sproblems, your ability to tutor a friend in math, or your keen sense of humor.By focusing on the good things you do and the positive aspects of your life,you can change how you feel about you. Parents are good about telling you notto drink or smoke. Try telling them not to criticize themselves in front ofyou. Explain to them that when you hear them berating their looks (or someoneelse’s), you have a tendency to think that looks matter a lot to them, andtherefore, you will most likely focus on your looks too. Remind them that thisbegins to happen at the age of three for most children.

Everyone I know has flaws. It is not our visible flaws thatcause us misery, but our perception of our flaws that depress or make us feelbadly about ourselves. Change what you can with diet, exercise and healthyliving. If mom or dad suggests a breast augmentation or a rhinoplasty for your16th birthday, remind them that putting their money into a college fund for youwill give them a better return on their money (also suggest counseling for yourparents’ issues with looks). You should never undergo cosmetic plastic surgery(unless it is a corrective type for an illness, accident or birth defect) untilyou are ready to accept the consequences if it doesn’t turn out to look the wayyou had imagined. That’s tough to do if you are under the age of eighteen.-MaryJo Rapini

 

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Mind, Body, Soul withMary Jo happens every Monday and Thursday morning 9 A.M. CST on Fox 26 MorningNews.

 

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