Barbie: AI shows what Barbie would look like in real-life - and suggests she'd have dementia
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As the highly anticipated Barbie movie hit cinema screens on Friday, artificial intelligence has pictured what the fictional doll would look like if she were alive today - and the results are nothing short of heartbreaking.
Hitting the shelves in 1959, Barbie (otherwise known as Barbara Millicent Roberts) was conceived as a 19-year-old doll, making her 83 in the year 2023.
The AI generated artwork, created through Midjourney by elderly lifestyle experts, depicts Barbie as having maintained her glamorous, bubble gum pink appearance in her old age, but her vacant expression and fidgeting hands highlight lesser-known symptoms of vascular dementia.
After a lifetime of wearing high heels, pensioner Barbie now suffers from chronic foot pain and poor posture as well, and is reclining in her armchair barefoot. At her age, Barbie has a one in two chance of having at least one fall each year, meaning wearing her go-to high heels is no longer an option.
Studies also reveal that one in five falls suffered by the over 80s result in hospital visits, so it’s highly likely that Barbie will have had at least one recent stay in hospital. Her deteriorating eyesight and development of cataracts has also impaired her vision, meaning she can no longer drive her iconic hot pink car.
With an empty chair in the background, it's also assumed that lifelong heart-throb Ken has also passed away, and Barbie is likely struggling with loneliness.
Claire Baker, elderly care expert at TakingCare Personal Alarms, said: "Barbie has been at the centre of the conversation about women’s bodies and beauty since 1959, with the doll’s appearance evolving throughout her 60 year history. However, we are yet to see Barbie as she grows older, demonstrating how aging can change how our bodies look; ultimately, it’s something we all go through.
“Barbie has often been identified as a divisive role model for female beauty standards, and in more recent years has taken a stance on highlighting more diverse body types - so why can’t she represent ageing?
“At 83 years old in real terms, Barbie will have certainly felt the signs of aging. She is in the prime age demographic for experiencing the effects of frailty, including falls – with one in two adults aged over 80 experiencing a fall each year – as well as being high risk for health conditions such as Alzheimer's, dementia and cataracts.
"Let’s normalise the conversation around ageing. We all get older, and it’s nothing to fear. If Barbie embraced aging, I think a lot of the public would too.”