By CAMERON DIIORIO
The Barbie doll has been an ongoing hot-button issue in America. Produced by Mattel since 1956, Barbie is the best-selling girl’s toy in America. However, Barbie’s unrealistic body proportions have spurred controversy because of the message that it conveys about the female body to adolescents.
The doll comes in at about 11.5 inches tall, which would be about 5’9” on a 1:6 scale. Using the same scale, her bust is approximated at 36 inches, her waist at 18 and her hips at 33 inches. These proportions are not of the average female. Many young, impressionable girls of ages seven to twelve, the doll’s target age range, see the dolls and strive to be just like them. However, it is physically impossible to meet the body proportions of a Barbie doll.
According to MailOnline.com, if Barbie were a real woman she would “[be required] to walk on all fours.” She also would not be able to lift her head and would only have half a liver because her waist is so miniscule. The true reality is that if Barbie were a human being, she would look like something out of a low-budget exorcist movie.
Nickolay Lamm, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania resident, disagreed with the unrealistic portrayal of women brought upon by Barbie dolls, so he created a new Barbie-esque brand of dolls named the Lammily dolls. Lamm, in an interview with TIME Magazine, said, “Parents and their kids were emailing and asking where they could buy the ‘normal Barbie’ — but they didn’t exist.”
Lamm, a graphic designer, decided to take matters into his own hands. With the help of anti-Barbie enthusiasts, the Internet and crowdfunding, Lamm was able to bring his idea to life: Lammily, a doll with the proportions of an average 19-year-old girl.
Lammily was released in November 2014. The doll has brown hair, minimal makeup and a full range of motion, traits which are the complete opposite of those of Barbie. Lammily was released with the tagline “Average is Beautiful” and promotes a healthy lifestyle full of travel, sports and overall activity.
For years, Barbie has been depicted as living luxuriously and lavishly and has been sold in sets with mansions, sports cars and shopping malls, all in ridiculously bright shades of pink. Barbie’s materialism perpetuates the negative stereotypes placed upon girls’ intelligence and worth and becomes subconsciously absorbed into the personalities of many girls.
In contrast, Lammily dolls do not promote materialism or perpetuate stereotypes; they instead are seen as realistic portrayals of average girls who are healthy and active.
Lamm interviewed students in the second grade at St. Edmund’s Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about the Lammily doll compared to other dolls. Overall, both male and female students said that they liked Lammily better and would rather play with Lammily. Many of the second graders said that Lamm’s doll “ looks like my sister” or “looks like my aunt.” They did not think that Barbie looked normal, saying that she was “too thin.” Many of the children remarked that the Barbie’s feet were slanted at such a sharp angle that she could not even stand up.
That even second graders noticed there was something wrong with Barbie dolls and their body portrayals is a failure on Mattel’s part. Lamm was bold enough to create the Lammily doll as a doll that the average youngster can relate to and play with.
Although Lamm already makes a remarkable idea come to life with Lammily, what really distinguishes the dolls is the body sticker set available for additional purchase, which includes objects such as stick-on acne, freckles, stretch marks, tattoos and scars.
Lamm said, “All fashion dolls look the same! I wanted to give them a realistic makeover.” These stickers are what make Lammily so special. These dolls are not telling young girls that they should be a size zero. They are not telling them that the only way to be happy is to be rich and blonde and have a boy wrapped around your finger.
Lammily is telling young girls to have healthy lifestyles and is teaching them how to embrace their flaws. Everyone has flaws, and Lammily is putting the flaws that girls might find shameful into a new light. If Lammily has flaws, then why can’t you? We are not meant to be perfect. We are not Barbie dolls, and we never will be.