Barbie: An Unexpected Spokesperson for Children’s Mental Health

barbie-mental-health

Barbie once represented the “perfect” female figure, with unrealistic body proportions that made young girls hate what they saw in the mirror. Over the last decade though, Mattel has completely transformed Barbie’s image to showcase beauty in all shapes and sizes. They came out with a line of curvy Barbie dolls, and they have striven to make Barbie an all-inclusive brand.

Now Barbie has taken on a new role as a spokesperson for children’s mental health. The Barbie YouTube channel, which has nearly 5 million subscribers, includes an array of videos that discuss depression, anger, low self-esteem, and more. Children and parents alike are starting to take notice of the subtle words of wisdom embedded into Barbie’s videos, and the mental healthcare community is fully here to support it.

Life Lessons from Barbie’s Vlog Channel

Barbie’s vlogs are designed to look like an actual person talking to a camera. It’s a format that children expect from their favorite YouTubers, like they’re having a conversation with a friend. While many of these videos are lighthearted, some talk about important mental health issues that people face at every age. Some examples include:

  • Sorry Reflex: Barbie talks about how people, particularly girls, often apologize for matters that aren’t their fault. She explains how to reframe “sorry” as “thank you,” helping empower young women in their daily lives.
  • Feeling Blue? You’re not alone: Barbie discusses how she feels sad at times for no apparent reason, and that everyone experiences that in some way. She then goes on to describe some ways she relieves sadness, such as journaling, meditation, and talking to other people – tasks we often discuss in depression counseling. She also explains that it is okay to feel sad, and that it’s nothing to feel guilty about.
  • Power and Empowerment: This vlog is all about “going high when they go low.” Barbie tells a story about her sister getting picked on in class. When she ignored the bully, the bullying stopped. But when the bully gets cast aside by her peers, the sister decides to befriend her, rather than joining the crowd. She encourages viewers to spread positivity and empowerment, even when it does not seem like the easy thing to do.
  • I’m So Cranky: Barbie explains that she’s having a “cranky day” because she didn’t get much sleep last night. Then she talks about ways to get through this type of day, including breathing exercises, listening to music, and some self-reassurance.
  • The Empathy Challenge: This video is mainly a baby food taste test, but at the end, Barbie challenges her viewers to think before they get angry. “Think about how they’re feeling…Put yourself in their shoes.”

Even in a vlog that’s silly in nature, Barbie incorporates small mental health tips for her viewers. Mattel is using their platform to help people of all ages feel better about themselves and their circumstances.

It’s Not Just for Young Girls – It’s for Everyone

Perhaps the best part of Barbie’s vlog channel is that the lessons within apply to everyone. We all have days where we feel sad, cranky, guilty, etc., and we all have our own coping mechanisms for those experiences. Barbie helps young girls feel like they aren’t alone, and adults resonate with the positive encouragement within the videos. There is something in the videos for everybody.

Other Ways to Help a Child’s Mental Health

If your child is struggling in school, being bullied, feeling down about their body, or simply unhappy with life at the moment, there are solutions available. Child counseling is a personalized experience where a professional child works with your child one-on-one. In this process, your child can overcome challenges and learn how to cope with different emotions he or she may be facing. You can also learn how to communicate effectively with your child and resolve conflicts within the family.

If you are interested in child counseling in Michigan, contact Perspectives Counseling Centers. We have several locations to assist you, and we will match you with the best therapist for your needs.