What’s Up With the BAR­BIE EPI­DEMIC?

Th­ese young women are al­ter­ing their ap­pear­ances to look like plas­tic dolls. Cosmo in­ves­ti­gates this dis­turb­ing trend, started by a 21-year-old Ukrainian model, that ex­perts are now dub­bing the ‘Bar­bie flu’.

Cosmopolitan (India) - - COSMO REPORT - By Me­her Bajwa

Most of us grew up play­ing with Bar­bie dolls and we all thought she was pretty darn per­fect with her waist-length hair, hour-glass fig­ure and cute boyfriend in tow. But it seems some women have taken their Bar­bie ob­ses­sion to a whole new level by em­u­lat­ing the Mat­tel toy, in real life.

21-year-old model, Va­le­ria Lukyanova, started a trend—and be­came an In­ter­net sen­sa­tion—with her doll-like features, long blonde hair, and shock­ingly tiny 18-inch waist. Known as the ‘Hu­man Bar­bie’, she claims to be the most fa­mous woman on the Rus­sian­lan­guage In­ter­net.

When pho­tos of the Ukraini­an­based Va­le­ria first stormed the In­ter­net early this year, many doubted her ex­is­tence and were con­vinced she was a com­puter gen­er­ated im­age. She then up­loaded a video of how she trans­forms into the real-life doll ev­ery morn­ing. While there have been var­i­ous al­le­ga­tions of cos­metic al­ter­ations, Va­le­ria de­nies it all, at­tribut­ing her spe­cial looks to her “good genes that run in the fam­ily”. She does, how­ever, ad­mit to bleach­ing her hair and get­ting a breast en­large­ment pro­ce­dure a few years ago. The rest, she claims, is all about op­ti­cal il­lu­sion with the use of make-up, es­pe­cially in cre­at­ing the Dis­ney princess-like large eyes and sculpted face. Va­le­ria re­port­edly spends three hours get­ting ready to leave the house ev­ery­day. And what about that su­per tiny waist? She swears by liq­uid food—only water, juices and smooth­ies. She doesn’t drink al­co­hol and goes to the gym reg­u­larly.

It’s not sur­pris­ing that de­spite her pop­u­lar­ity on the In­ter­net (500,000 Face­book fans and over 16

mil­lion views on YouTube), Va­le­ria has re­ceived se­vere back­lash from blog­gers and ex­perts who have posted neg­a­tive com­ments call­ing her fake, un­real, and a dan­ger­ous role model for im­pres­sion­able young women. In a re­cent pho­to­shoot and in­ter­view with V Mag­a­zine, Va­le­ria dis­missed the neg­a­tiv­ity say­ing that ev­ery good­look­ing woman with fine features and a slim fig­ure “looks like a doll”. “I won’t deny that I play along with peo­ple’s per­cep­tions. I’m amused by the re­ac­tions. I don’t take it se­ri­ously.” Soon af­ter the ar­ti­cle, LA- based psy­chol­o­gist, Dr. Seth Mey­ers re­leased a report say­ing, “The in­ter­view and pho­tos sug­gest a woman who finds her au­then­tic self to be empty and unin­spir­ing, caus­ing her to live in a fan­tasy world of her own mak­ing.” Mey­ers ex­plains that the prob­lem lies in the fact that Va­le­ria’s ap­pear­ance piques the fan­tasies of men, fur­ther­ing the un­healthy con­cept of tiny waist­lines and big breasts in women, to which real women can’t, and shouldn’t have to mea­sure up.

What’s wor­ry­ing is that de­spite the ob­vi­ous phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal harm­ful ef­fects of such a life­style, Va­le­ria’s on­line fame has trig­gered a big­ger trend for girls across the globe to turn them­selves into hu­man dolls. 15-year-old ‘liv­ing doll’ Venus Palermo has over 30 mil­lion YouTube fans and lives like a doll ev­ery day. And Anas­tasiya Sh­pag­ina, 19, wakes up at 5am ev­ery morn­ing to ap­ply make-up to look like her favourite Ja­panese car­toon characters. She sur­vives mainly on melon to main­tain her tiny pro­por­tions. Anas­tasiya and Va­le­ria claim to be spir­i­tual twins, and doc­u­ment their time spent to­gether, while Dakota Rose from San Fran­cisco uses YouTube to teach oth­ers how to re-cre­ate her baby-doll ap­pear­ance.Even in­ter­na­tional star and rap­per, Nicki Mi­naj has a Bar­bie al­ter-ego when she per­forms, called Hara­juku Bar­bie! What’s next?!!

Hu­man doll Va­le­ria Lukyanova (R) with

her ‘spirit sis­ter’ Anas­tasiya Sh­pag­ina

Anas­tasiya in a dif­fer­ent

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Nicki Mi­naj’s al­ter-ego Hara­juku

Bar­bie

Dakota Rose known as Kata Koti

Va­le­ria at a pho­to­shoot

Bri­tish ‘child doll’, Venus Palermo

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