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Is Barbie Too Perfect? Evaluating the Standard of Beauty

From the Show: HER
Summary: Dolls have alluring, yet unrealistic body shapes. What message is this sending to your child?
Air Date: 5/1/14
Duration: 10
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pamela Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Susan E. Strain ACSW, LCSW
strainSusan comes to the Ranch with extensive experience working in both inpatient and outpatient settings, dealing with a wide range of populations and psychiatric conditions. She is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist.

A proponent of the bio-psycho-social model of illness and recovery, Susan's sees the illness and the recovery process as multi-dimensional; both involving the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of an individual's life.

She uses a blend of motivational, cognitive/behavioral and insight oriented approaches. Susan believes that therapy is ultimately about balancing a full understanding and acceptance of the present reality while moving toward desired change.

She see the role as therapist to be an agent of change by providing and modeling self- understanding, self-acceptance and self-compassion while maintaining the challenge to develop new ways of being in the world. Susan feels strongly that the ambivalence about change is a natural and an expected part of the recovery process.

She is very excited to be a part a healing community that shares her treatment philosophy and values an individualized, compassionate approach to the treatment of eating disorders in particular.

The Ranch provides the warmth, emotionally safety and clinical expertise where clients can explore how deeper issues are expressed in their relationship with food and body and struggles over food, appetite and hunger can be understood as the symbolic expressions of ambivalence over need, desire and vulnerability.
Is Barbie Too Perfect? Evaluating the Standard of Beauty

Society, culture and the media send you powerful messages about ideal body weight and shape.

Young girls are encouraged to have a thin physique. 

On average, girls ages three to 11 have up to 10 Barbie dolls. These dolls have alluring, yet unrealistic body shapes and are marketed to little girls as "the toys that every girl should have."

How concerned should parents be? What is the association between the dolls you let your child play with and her self-esteem?

What may seem like "childs play" could actually affect your daughter (or son's) body image. There are A LOT of unconscious messages behind the the beauty of a doll. 

Rehabs.com reports that four out of five 10-year-olds say they're afraid of being fat, and 42 percent of girls in first through third grade wish they were thinner. 

Susan Strain, ACSW is the Director of Eating Disorder Services at the Recovery Ranch in Tennessee. She addresses how to prevent body dysmorphia and self-esteem issues with education in schools and at home. 

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