She was forced to walk on all fours thanks to her oversized head, it being two inches larger than it was before the surgery. To make matters worse, her head was sitting on a neck twice as long and six inches thinner than the one she had before.
“Dr. Brennan, I can’t lift my head.” Sophia’s dream of being “Barbie beautiful” had turned into a surreal nightmare.
“We discussed all this, Sophia, and your head is the least of your worries. Your waist is only 16 inches, four inches thinner than your head. We had to greatly reduce the size of your liver and intestines to accommodate it.”
Brennan’s dismay for what Sophia had asked his team to do for her was palatable. He could hardly believe that women in the mid-21st century still succumbed to the influence of the dolls they played with in childhood. And yet, he was here to treat this epidemic sweeping through the current generation of older teens and young twenties women.
“Won’t I die?”
“That’s a distinct possibility.”
Sophia gave up her struggle against gravity and let her body, dressed only in a white bikini, slump to the floor.
“Doctor, I thought you said this would work, that I’d have Barbie’s body.” Her words were muffled since half her face was pressed onto formica tiles.
“You do, but what led you to believe such a body would be practical in the real world?”
“I give up, Doctor. Please turn off the machine now.”
Dr. Brennan flipped several switches on the console he was standing behind and the room converted back to the plain holographic chamber it had been before the session began.
Sophia hurriedly removed the simulation suit and virtual reality helmet. “I never want to do that again.”
She stood. It was her old body, 20 inch head, 15 inch neck, 35 inch waist, 40 inch hips, the body she thought was so bulky and ugly now felt like heaven compared to the debilitating experience of being “Barbie-ized”.
“I’m sorry, Doctor. I shouldn’t have snapped at you. You only gave me what I asked for.” Sophia put her robe back on. She was suddenly aware of how cold the holochamber was.
“It’s alright, Sophia. Almost everyone experiences shock and anger at this stage of their therapy. Now that you have a more realistic idea of how a real person’s body works, I believe your therapist will be able to help you.”
“Thanks. I guess you think I’m some kind of idiot.”
“Not at all, Sophia. You’re just one of the many young women who suffer from an eating and body image disorder. I’m here to help. We’re all here to help. Let me escort you back to your room. Your next counseling session with Dr. Price is in half an hour.”
I got the idea for this wee story from an article I read at Aish.com called Blaming Barbie: Raising Daughters with Self-Esteem by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff. Then, in researching what Barbie’s bodily proportions would be if she were life-sized, I found Bones so frail it would be impossible to walk and room for only half a liver: Shocking research reveals what life would be like if a REAL woman had Barbie’s body at The Daily Mail.
At first, I thought of writing Sophia’s story as if she’d had the surgery, but then I realized that not only would it kill her, but medical ethics would prevent any surgical team from performing such a procedure. The holographic chamber and simulation suit seemed more reasonable in treating someone with eating and body image disorders.
Dolls are fun to play with, but they aren’t role models for real people.