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October 03, 2005

Second Thoughts

My daughter and I went grocery shopping together the other day, and as we were checking out, the cover of one of the tabloid rags caught my eye. It featured an emaciated Teri Hatcher next to Kate Hudson, who could now be mistaken for Kate Moss.

Hatcher & Hudson join a long, well-publicized, albeit barely visible, line of actresses (Boyle, Flockhart, Zellweger, Olsen (one of 'em, anyway), Lohan, et al) who have lost psychotic amounts of weight, amidst swirling rumors of anorexia.

About a month ago, I wrote about Paperdoll Heaven, a website for fans of...well, paper dolls (duh). At the time, I pointed out that despite the fact that the 'models' for the many colorful outfits were celebs with underwear that was racier that the nondescript undies in Fashion Cents, the website is fine for the kiddies.

However, after my little checkout line epiphany, I took another look at Paperdoll Heaven, and this time, I wasn't quite as thrilled with what I saw.

What bothered me isn't exactly the celebs or their underwear per se, but it is most certainly related...

Every one of the digital celebrity models had killer cleavage & single-digit body fat, which, of course, is how many of their flesh & blood analogs achieved celebrity in the first place. Every outfit my daughter plays with is clicked and dragged onto yet another 'perfect' body.

So am I overreacting? I'm just not sure. My wife and I try to give our daughter positive messages about realistic body image, but is it enough to counteract the barrage of images she's up against?

Is the fun she clearly has playing Paperdoll Heaven worth the possibility of the development of an unrealistic body image down the line?

I don't have any pat answers or pithy closing lines for this one. But I'll be paying close attention in the meantime.


  • I agree. It's a tough call, and I'm not sure boycotting everything and sticking one's head in the sand is the solution.

    And the body image is only one thing. The cult of celebrity that the world (and the US in particular) is affected with is also concerning as a parent.

    I think the fact that your "alarms" are going off and that you are concious of it is a good indicator that you are on the right track.


    By Blogger kim, at 4:59 PM  

  • It's a tough call, really. Sometimes the best you can do is hope that you're doing the right thing. I can no more keep my daughter from playing with dolls than keep my son from pretending an empty cup is the death star.

    I wish I had an answer, too.

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 6:43 AM  

  • I hear you guys, and I'm not the boycotting type, Kim. We just have to make sure we counterbalance this kind of stuff with positive realistic messages (e.g. "healthy" body, as opposed to "perfect" body), kinda like counterbalancing indoor video game time with reading time, outdoor play time, etc.

    By Blogger Dan, at 11:11 PM  

  • I just realized that the structure of my last comment might make it seem like I'm saying that video games are an evil (i.e. "perfect" body) to be counterbalanced by the reading, outdoor play good (i.e. "healthy" body). So if you're reading, Jack Thompson, that's not at all what I'm saying. Obviously, I believe video games can be good for kids, but they just need to be balanced with other activities (e.g. reading, outdoor play, dancing, singing, etc.). Just wanted to clarify.

    By Blogger Dan, at 8:01 AM  

  • FYI: You've made Joystiq's news list, again.


    By Blogger WizarDru, at 1:01 PM  

  • Thanks. A lot of the commenters seem to have missed the point of both that particular post, and this blog in general. But what are ya gonna do? :)

    By Blogger Dan, at 2:09 PM  

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