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The purpose of this investigation is to find out how we can scale Barbie to a real life proportion by measuring her height, bust, waist and hips. And then reflect upon these results

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Barbie Investigation


The purpose of this investigation is to find out how we can scale Barbie to a real life proportion by measuring her height, bust, waist and hips. And then reflect upon these results

Proportions of Barbie versus Average Woman

“If Libby’s waist size of 71.1 cm were to remain unchanged, then applying Barbie’s proportions to her would mean Libby shoots up in height, to an Amazonian 2.28m tall. She would also have hips measuring 101.6 cm and a bust of 83.9 cm” (Source MLA)





Barbie’s Measurements

29.5 cm

11.6 cm

8.9 cm

12.7 cm

“Barbified” Libby (Article)

2.28 m

83.9 cm

71.1 cm

101.6 cm

Note: Results from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7920962.stm

How to do the Math

To find the barbified measurements for Libby the proportions needs to be calculated. To calculate this we use Libby’s original waist measurement and divide it by Barbie’s measurement. Libby’s waist is 71.1cm and Barbie’s is 8.9 cm= 71.1/8.9= 7.99. The [a]proportion is 1:7.99. [b]Thereafter simply just multiply the proportion by each of Barbie’s measurements (Height, Bust, Hips) and the answers is the measurements for the barbified  Libby.

...read more.


93 cm

71 cm

101 cm

Average UK woman

If the average UK woman’s waist remains the same size then using fractions we see that Average UK woman’s waist/Barbie’s waist=86.3 cm/8.9 cm [e]= 9.7

Average UK woman’s height: 9.7x29.5 cm=286.152.97m

Average UK woman’s bust: 9.7x11.6 cm=112.52  1.12m

Average UK woman’s hips: 9.7x12.7 cm=123.19  1.23m [f]





Average UK Woman Measurements



86 cm

103 cm

Barbified Average UK Woman Measurements





Reflection on results:

Is Barbie a realistic model of a young woman?

Not in any way! If the barbified average UK woman was real she would be 24cm taller than the tallest [g]man that have ever lived. She would be the woman with the second biggest natural bust and she would most likely have hips in that category as well (no UNIS appropriate websites was found about this topic). If she was alive she would like something out of this world in a bad way.

Why have Mattel used these dimensions for Barbie?

Because Barbie looks like societies ideal of a “perfect” woman; tall with a slim waist and large hips and bust.

...read more.


make a big difference [i]to the final conclusion I think not. [j]



[a]Good but make sure to explain in words.

[b]Math type


[d]Use math type

[e]Good work Philip.

You could improve your Criterion C score by further explaining your math calculations and going deeper into the math reasoning.

You could improve your Criterion D score by using your math data to support your answers to the questions and use more examples to further explain your ideas.

[f]Great Work!  Nice use of math data to support your answer.


[h]Use math type to put that in a proper fraction


[j]Depends upon how big the ratio is.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Maths section.

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