Why Whoopi Goldberg and Her Daughter Chewed Off Barbie’s Arms

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This week in a conversation with the Child Mind Institute, Whoopi Goldberg discussed growing up with dyslexia, her mother’s tireless support, and the pressures she faced as a girl.

“When my daughter was little we chewed off Barbie’s arms, because I wanted to explain to her that she didn’t have to look like that,” she said, offering up a body-image manifesto:

What I realized is you can talk to girls all you want to about what they shouldn’t be feeling … They know who they are. But, we have been taught — and I think women are still led down this idea — that there is something better than you … If we saw more portly women on magazines, we would think they’re beautiful, but we don’t. We don’t see very portly women. We see women talking about, Oh yes, I gained all this weight for a movie part, but then I lost it all again. Or somebody has a baby on Wednesday and they weighed you know, 116 pounds, and then on Friday they’re back to, you know, 98. And it’s because this idea of what we’re supposed to be hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. And so fighting all of that was my biggest issue.

Goldberg spoke with the Child Mind Institute’s president Dr. Harold Koplewicz for the organization’s 13th-annual Adam Katz Memorial Conversation, hosted to raise awareness about mental health and learning disorders as part of the Speak Up for Kids campaign.