Human Barbie dolls: a new breed of women?

Posted by: on Nov 25, 2012 | One Comment

We find ourselves in the midst of a ‘Barbie epidemic’, where young women are choosing to physically transform themselves into the plastic icon. Recently, Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova has been splashed all over the pages of magazines and on websites, posing as one of the first human Barbie dolls.

Valeria Lukyanova (Human Barbie)

Lukyanova has cultivated a modelling career out of her Barbie inspired look

Lukyanova is 21 years old, with a teeny 18 inch waist, surgically enhanced breasts, wide dough-eyes and a face so flawless it rivals Barbie’s. Her quest to become a human doll is shockingly a common ambition among many other young women.  It has, in fact, gone viral. British teen Venus Palermo has established herself a protégé of Barbie, posting make-up tutorials on youtube showing girls how to achieve a ‘baby-doll’ look.


At 15, Palermo has transformed herself into a teenage ‘baby-‘doll’

Lukyanova denies any extensive plastic surgery, claiming that her look comes to life through the playful use of cosmetics such as, false eye lashes, hair dyes and artificially coloured contact lenses. All of these elements form a vital role in both her appearance and that of Barbie’s.

The original Barbie doll was launched in 1959, designed by Ruth Handler, who intended to create an adult doll suitable for her daughter to play with and look up to. She was inspired by a German doll named ‘Bild Lilli’, who funnily enough, was a comic strip character known for her provocative attitude.

Is this modern ‘Barbie’ the type of role model girls should look up to? Unfortunately, the idea of perfection has been associated with her for years, as Lukyanova agrees that Barbie’s sensual ‘femininity’ is her selling point.

It’s unclear whether this is a passing trend. One thing is certain: these women may want to be Barbie girls, but this certainly is not a Barbie world.

Simran Bhogal