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Life-sized Barbie illustrates anorexia

April 19, 2011 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

PORTLAND, Ore., April 19 (UPI) -- An Oregon woman told NBC's "Today" show the 6-foot-tall model she created of a Barbie doll is designed to raise awareness of eating disorders.

Galia Slayen, who brought her creation to the "Today" studio in New York Monday, said she first created the giant Barbie-like figure -- with a 39-inch bust, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips -- from wood, chicken wire and papier-mache for the first National Eating Disorders Awareness week in 2007 while she was a high school student in Portland.

"I was at a friend's house and her mom's an artist so there were all these art supplies around," Slayen said. "She helped with the actual proportions."

She said she suffered from anorexia when she was a cheerleader in high school.

"I'm not blaming Barbie [for my illness] -- she's one small factor, an environmental factor," Slayen said. "I'm blond and blue-eyed and I figured that was what I was supposed to look like. She was my idol. It impacted the way I looked at myself."

A representative for Mattel said in an e-mail the doll "was never modeled on the proportions of a real person."

"As a pop-cultural icon, Barbie is often used as art to express one's own personal opinions and views," the toy company representative wrote. "Girls see female body images everywhere today and it's critical that parents and caregivers provide perspective on what they are seeing."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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