This is what Barbie would look if she was modeled after a real 19-year-old girl
Though our culture is widely (and blissfully) shifting to accommodate and celebrate diversity, Barbie is a hold out when it comes to perpetuating unrealistic body image and narrow definitions of beauty (remember, if an actual human person had Barbie’s proportions she’d have to walk around on all fours). Well, designer and entrepreneur Nickolay Lamm has taken matters into her own hands creating “Normal Barbie,” aka a doll with proportions comparable to those of the average 19-year-old girl (according to the CDC). The “normal” barbie project began as art, but after a serious crowdfunding effort is now going to market.
The doll, named Lammily, goes above and beyond typical doll-status to accept the wholly human imperfections of a real woman’s body. In addition to her more “normal” size she also comes with acne, stretch marks, cellulite, and scars (all available in Lammily’s sticker extension pack!). Finally! A doll, that maybe, kind of, sort of, looked like us when we were 19! Let’s load on those zit stickers.
As creator Lamm told Time Magazine, “I wanted to show that reality is cool.”
Lammily couldn’t have come at a better time, well aside from being right in time for Christmas. Real Barbie (not normal Barbie) has had a tough week thanks to a slew of articles calling out the Barbie series books entitled “I Can Be . . .” The book in question depicts Barbie working toward become a computer engineer . . . if “working toward” means “fumbling along every step of the way until two more capable MEN appear to help her with all those pesky math problems.” Choice pages include:
Mattel has already apologized for making Barbie look “incompetent,” and the beauty of the Internet has already given birth to a remixed version of book that rights the original books wrongs called I (Really!) Can Be a Computer Engineer.
What all this is proving (and damn straight) is that people are no longer tolerant of these ridiculously sexist expectations planted into little girls minds by things as innocuous as childhood toys. We’d rather play with dolls that have bruises and scars and pimples like us(!), than dolls that only have space for half a liver, like Barbie would if she were real.
In her brilliant stand-up special We Are Miracles, Sarah Silverman warns against the dangers of undermining girls’ potential via sexist toys with unrealistic bodies. She says, “Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake. Not because they can’t, but because it would’ve never occurred to them they couldn’t. You’re planting that seed in their heads.” Oh snap.
With all this Barbie talk we’re seeing the best and worst of what dolls can be. They can perpetuate senseless stereotypes that show girls as needing boys, and always looking like, well, Barbies. Or, they can show something a little more empowering, a little more real, a little more relateable.
We need to remind little ladies that you don’t have to look a certain way to be beautiful, and that you don’t need Brian and Steve to help with the coding on that cool app you’re making. Why not make the app with Rachel and Summer? Or why not make the app alone? We need to remind little ladies that scars and stretchmarks tell stories that make us US, and that Barbie proportions IRL would not just suck they’d be totally impossible.
Looks like the new Lammily doll is going on our holiday wish-list, and you bet we’re splurging on the sticker pack.