A photo, posted to Imgur and attributed to "Eddi Aguirre" has emerged of the famous blonde bombshell in her most natural, makeup-free state—with freckles, under-eye circles, frizzy hair, acne, and braces.
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It's not the first time the 54-year-old's looks have caused controversy. Although she has an impressive resume (holding myriad jobs from paratrooper, nurse, and even astronaut), owns her own property, and has been in a committed relationship with Ken for over 50 years (save for that short-lived breakup), it's her flat stomach, perky breasts, and flaxen hair that have been the subject of scrutiny since 1959 when she first debuted in stores. Long criticized for her unattainable proportions—in real life, her measurements would translate to a six-foot tall woman with a 39" bust, 18" waist, and 33" hips—she's been blamed on a global scale for everything from eating disorders (according to The Washington Post, "Sleepover Barbie" came with a bathroom scale) and discouraging girls from education (In 1992, "Teen Talk Barbie" said things like, "Math class is tough"). She has evolved herself accordingly, gaining weight in her waist throughout the years.
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Barbie has experimented with styles before (tattoos, motorcycle jackets) and even shaved her head in 2012 to appeal to children dealing with hair loss, but her new natural look may be the closet she's gotten to resembling a real person (at least in the morning).
Surprisingly, the response to her natural look has been mostly negative. "Her hair needs some work," wrote one commenter. "A doll with an incredibly sick look? Like she's got an awful hangover or renal failure? Which child would want it?" wrote another. And: "It's the way her eyes are swollen, puffy--signs of a hangover or, in the extreme, kidney failure."
Can Barbie ever win? "It's human nature for people to build up iconic figures and then tear them down," says Fran Walfish, Psy.D., a child and family therapist based in Beverly Hills, CA. "We idealize public figures because we want something to aspire to but our standards are impossibly high. And when these icons inevitably misstep, we feel disappointed and angry that our hopes have been dashed." In the case of Barbie, Walfish speculates that the person who posted the image may have been trying to convey that under all the sparkle and glamour, Barbie is just a normal woman with run-of-the-mill flaws. "Barbie with braces and acne looks very much like the type of women and girls who come into my practice," says Walfish. "Perhaps this new image is a good thing."
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