The Barbie doll has come in for some harsh criticism, writes my favourite columnist Barbara Ellen of The Observer. Barbie and her physiologically impossible figure are apparently to blame for little girls growing up with complexes about their bodies and then developing eating disorders. If this is the case, Ellen wryly says, then why aren't Action Man and his six-pack to blame for teenage boys getting depressed about how they look.
I have two daughters, one of whom adores Barbie and one who is indifferent. Before Barbie entered our home, I wondered if I should ban her for not being a realistic female shape. In the end, I decided not to make a fuss and hoped the passion would wear off fast. Thus far, it's been a year – a long time in the life of a four year-old.
Ellen says the more insidious influence on girls' self-image is wreaked by real Barbies – Nicole Ritchie (Anorexia Barbie), Paris Hilton (Trust Fund Barbie) and the like – who are super-thin, super-rich and lying through their teeth about their eating habits. Nicole 'I've got a fast metabolism' Ritchie recently admitted she has an eating disorder.
Pink also thinks this lot are for the birds. In her song 'Stupid Girls', she sings about girls with their 'itsy bitsy doggies', flipping back their blonde hair, pushing up their bras and vomiting up anything over 300 calories. She wants to see 'outcasts and girls with ambition', whose goals go beyond appearing in the next 50 Cent video.
All this means a shake-up around here. Pink's in, Barbie's in but all my celebrity magazines, my Heats and my Galas, are out – at least before my girls start flicking through them. And I suppose this will be good for me. No more wondering how Victoria (Tummy Tuck Barbie) Beckham managed to get back in shape so fast after her third baby, or how Gywneth (Vegan Barbie) Paltrow keeps so trim. No more looking at Old but Buff Barbie (Madonna), Cokehead Barbie (Kate Moss) or Man Magnet Barbie (Angelina Jolie). From now on, only good role models need apply.