The Day I Boycotted Barbie! : Jumana Al Awadhi

I was 11 when I watched a news segment about a group of women boycotting Barbie. This report caught my attention. I was influenced by the women’s words about unrealistic beauty standards and its danger to young girls; also the criticism of drawing a wrong picture of what is beautiful and acceptable in reality. I remember one of them said, “If there actually was a real girl that tall with that small a shoe size, she would not be able to stand, let alone walk.”

This was one of the important stages in my life that shaped many of my convictions later. At that age decided to boycott Barbie and told my family that I would not accept this kind of gifts anymore. Then I launched a mini-awareness campaign for all my friends. This was my first cause for a long period of time.

In my adolescence I decided to boycott all magazines that published digitally modified and/or enhanced celebrity pictures. I used to feel sad when I’d hear one of my friends lament about her skin when she looked at a picture of a Hollywood star. I was also outraged when my friend told me that she would not eat to become like that star. At the time I felt it was my responsibility to defend true and natural beauty.

Here we are today surrounded by a fake beauty obsession. I am 30 years old; Photoshop and Barbie are no longer the only things threatening women’s confidence. Surgical and non-surgical operations, cosmetics, false eyelashes, liposuction; tucks for the eyes, nose, lips, tummy, waist… the list is endless. Don’t you think that standardized forms are dull and depressing? Do you want to be clones of each other?

I feel sad when I hear about someone who had rhinoplasty just because of some comments on Instagram! How remarkable her original nose was! Another one became obsessed with whitening her skin until it extremely sensitive and she cannot even go out in sunlight. There are many similar stories, but what hurts me the most is a story of a little girl – who, when she was asked what she wanted for her seventh birthday, said “gray lenses and a corset”.

The only solution is to increase health education and knowledge about the real value of health and true beauty. To accept each other in our real forms, not to fake our looks just to be accepted! The real corset is sport, and natural freshness is gained from healthy food. We are beautiful in the eyes of the people who love us, and that is what matters.

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