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When I was a little girl, I played with my Barbie in her playhouse, sending her and Ken on dates that always ended with a goodnight kiss. In January 2007, I was looking for a way to make my peers realize the importance of eating disorders and body image issues. Taking stacks of newspaper, glue and water, I skipped my high school semi-formal dance to give my girl some skin.
Once a year, at the end of February, Barbie comes out of the closet to meet my friends, strangers, and those apathetic onlookers. Here is the Minecraft Enderman mask to go with the growing collection of other papercraft heads. Please refer to the YouTube video I did (How to create Minecraft zombie mask) it's the same template and principle. Please remember to left click image to bring up full size template, then right click to save as.
I was frustrated after quitting the cheerleading squad, frustrated with pressures to look and act a certain way and most of all frustrated with the eating disorder controlling my life.
Surrounding her wooden frame, we created a body that wasn't much thicker than a stick figure, but had the womanly and unattainable curves and proportions that impressionable young girls idealize.
Oddly, I started to feel my fondness for Barbie return, now not as a plaything but as a tool to reveal the negative body image that she promotes.


I couldn't figure out how to recreate the recognizable face of the Barbie we all know and love. During NEDAW, she reminds people that eating disorders and body image issues are serious and prevalent.
She reminds of something we once loved, while showing us the absurdity of our obsession with perfection. I built her as a part of the first National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) at my high school, later introducing her to Hamilton College during its first NEDAW in 2011. We stuffed the chicken wire with newspaper and created a body that creepily leaned against the wall in my neighbor's basement.
As I papier mached, I couldn't forget Barbie's impressive bust and blew up balloons over and over again to achieve a perfect 39" measurement. That skirt, a size double zero, used to slip off my waist when I was struggling with anorexia. Holding an awareness week in high school or college is just one way to get students to discuss these important issues.
She now needed some skin, so I brought her back to my apartment and employed the masterful art of papier mache.
Once her chest was secured, I spent hours dipping and smoothing the paper, and later mixed paints to replicate her seemingly perfect white skin tone.


I put it on Barbie to serve as a reminder that the way Barbie looks, the way I once looked, is not healthy and is not "normal," whatever normal might mean. However, constant discussion and education is key to dealing with and overcoming eating disorders. With a little math, nails and hammering, we built a stick figure that stood about six feet tall.
With a little hard work and a lot of time, a headless, footless and handless body soon stood in my apartment. Remember that Barbie with just shoulders and a head, meant for you to practice brushing her hair?
She grabs the attention of apathetic onlookers and makes them think and talk about an issue that thrives in silence.
I found the Barbie head, found a friend to assemble that head, and clothed Barbie for her first debut. In the last four years, Barbie has surpassed my expectations, attracting attention and sparking conversation among listeners and readers across the nation.



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