It’s no secret that if the traditional Barbie doll was a real woman, she would be 5’9” and weigh 120 pounds, with approximate measurements of 38″-18″-34″.
The average woman’s measurements, on the other hand, are about 41″-34″-43″.
In the US, most little girls grow up with more than one Barbie doll, and again, it is no secret that playing with legs and hair that long kind of make you think your legs and hair should be that long, too.
When’s the last time you pulled on your riding breeches, looked in the mirror, and liked what you saw? When’s the last time you didn’t worry about a back fat wrinkle when wearing your show shirt? The very real horse-loving “us” is made up of a vast worldwide riding population, majority women, and majority complete with legs we wish were longer, butts we wish were smaller, thighs we wish were thinner, waists we wish were slimmer. Be brave for a moment and take this quick quiz from Melinda Folse’s RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN:
1 Consider each of the following characteristics and beside each one, note Very Dissatisfied, Mostly Dissatisfied, Mostly Satisfied, or Very Satisfied when you consider the characteristic in conjunction with your own body, and in particular with your body as that of a horsewoman.
2 Now how do you think your body causes you to ride? How do you think you look when you ride, and how you feel about your own body as you ride? After each of the following, note how often thoughts like these cross your mind: Never, Sometimes, or Often.
3 Now consider the thought: I feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or self-conscious about my body . . .
and follow it with each one of the statements below. Then note how often you feel that thought cross your mind: Never, Sometimes, or Often.
You might find after taking the quiz above that you harbor a whole lot of anxiety, disgust, despondency, anger, frustration, envy, shame, or self-consciousness when it comes to your body. And you might even admit that it gets in the way of your being able to truly enjoy your time with horses.
Well, guess what, ladies? Most of us don’t look anything like the traditional thin, blonde, white Barbie doll. This is why in 2016, Mattel—the company that makes Barbie—is making the biggest change ever in the toy’s 57-year history.
“Faced with changes in beauty ideals, shifting demographics and ongoing criticism of Barbie’s impossible proportions, Mattel decided to remake the iconic blonde,” says the January 28, 2016 story at Time.com. (Read TIME’s Cover Story on Barbie and Body Image in America by CLICKING HERE)
And if finally, after 57 years, Barbie can learn to be true to the real short/tall/big/small/curvy/skinny/imperfect us, then can’t we go ahead and do ourselves the same favor?
In RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN, rider, writer, and imperfect horsewoman Melinda Folse gives us the tools we need to give bad body image the boot. It’s a great place to start making sure we all get the most from every ride, from here on out.
Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business located on a farm in rural Vermont.