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Could A 'Barbie' Get Real? What A Healthy Fashion Doll Looks Like...

Posted by on Apr. 4, 2014 at 8:28 PM
  • 25 Replies

Could A 'Barbie' Get Real? What A Healthy Fashion Doll Looks Like

Look familiar? Artist Nickolay Lamm designed a doll to look like the average 19-year-old walking — or running — on the street.

Look familiar? Artist Nickolay Lamm designed a doll to look like the average 19-year-old walking — or running — on the street.

Courtesy of Lammily

For decades, the Barbie doll has been slammed by parents for promoting an unhealthy female body image. Playing with a Barbie doll for just a few minutes may cause girls to limit their career ambitions, psychologists reported last month.

So why do we keep offering girls bone-thin dolls like Barbie and the popular Monster High crew, asks artist Nickolay Lamm?

No comparison: While the shape of Mattel's Barbie was inspired by a German sex toy, Lamm's concept reflects the dimensions of actual young women in the United States.

Courtesy of Lammily

He thinks it's time for a Barbie to get real.

Hello world: This concept for the "normal" fashion doll wears minimal makeup, jean shorts and a simple blouse.

Courtesy of Lammily

Lamm has raised nearly half a million dollars to produce a Barbie-like doll with the proportions of a real teenager. He designed the doll using the dimensions of the average 19-year-old, given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Then I smoothed out some of the details," Lamm, 25, tells Shots. "I just wanted her to look like a typical young woman walking down the street. But I left the actual dimensions ambiguous because I don't want to set a new standard."

Lamm says he was inspired to create the doll for his cousin. "She's so beautiful, but she was afraid to put on a bathing suit because she thought she was fat. And of course she's not," he says. "But then when I look at the dolls in the store [she has to select from], they're almost these mythical things."

To have Barbie's physique, the average young woman would need to grow about 5 inches, trim 17 inches from her waist and slim her neck by a half a foot, the artist says.

Here's the bad news for parents seeking healthier alternatives: Right now Lamm's doll exists only as a digital design. But he has been working with a former vice president at Mattel to construct a prototype. With the funds he raised, he's starting a company, Lammily, to produce the first edition of the dolls — which have already sold out.

Don't worry, though. Lamm wants to make a whole series of the dolls with a variety of ethnicities and healthy shapes. "I see there being a bunch of dolls to represent all of us," he says. He also plans for the dolls to wear less makeup than Mattel's Barbie and have more realistic clothes.

"I think the doll is fantastic!" says psychologist Aurora Sherman at Oregon State University, who led the recent study on Barbie's impact on girls' career ambitions.

Scads of studies have looked at how media images of unrealistic body shapes negatively affect girls' self-esteem and body satisfaction, Sherman says. But only a handful have focused on Barbie.

"From a scientific perspective, we don't know very much about how Barbie affects girls," she says. "Parents and philosophers have had a lot of opinions on Barbie, but there are very few studies that use Barbie in a scientific way. "

To start filling in that gap, Sherman and her colleagues ran a small study in which they gave 37 girls ages 4 to 7 a Barbie or a Mr. Potato Head to play with for five minutes. They then showed each girl photos of job situations, such as firefighting, piloting a plane or teaching. They asked each girl which jobs could be done by boys or by herself.

After playing with Barbie, the girls said that boys could do about 2.5 more jobs than themselves. But girls who played with Mr. Potato Head didn't distinguish between jobs for boys or themselves, Sherman and her colleagues reported in the journalSex Roles.

Of course, with such a small study it's hard to draw conclusions about girls in general. "We don't know what 37 girls from around Corvallis, Ore., tell us about the billions of girls in the world," Sherman says. "But girls play with Barbie hours a day. That cumulative impact couldn't be smaller than what we saw."

It would be good to give girls and parents other options, Sherman says.

"Barbie's proportionality was styled after a German sex toy," she notes, "and it hasn't changed much in over five decades. She's had some nips and tucks over the years so far. But the huge bust, skinny waist have stayed the same."

Naughty Woman Power

by on Apr. 4, 2014 at 8:28 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Apr. 4, 2014 at 8:31 PM
4 moms liked this

I really like this doll, but I won't lie, I like barbie too.

Lunarprancer
by Silver Member on Apr. 4, 2014 at 8:40 PM

I love this idea and these dolls.  That said, my barbies didn't damage my self esteem.  My dad did.  He had me on diets from 7 years old.  I'll never forget him standing me in front of a mirror after a week of flu and puking and saying, "now you get an idea of what you should look like."

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Apr. 4, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Holy Crap! That's terrible. I'm sorry.

Quoting Lunarprancer:

I love this idea and these dolls.  That said, my barbies didn't damage my self esteem.  My dad did.  He had me on diets from 7 years old.  I'll never forget him standing me in front of a mirror after a week of flu and puking and saying, "now you get an idea of what you should look like."


Naughty Woman Power

Lunarprancer
by Silver Member on Apr. 4, 2014 at 8:50 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks. I believe he had good intentions, but... Yeah.

Quoting NWP:

Holy Crap! That's terrible. I'm sorry.

Quoting Lunarprancer:

I love this idea and these dolls.  That said, my barbies didn't damage my self esteem.  My dad did.  He had me on diets from 7 years old.  I'll never forget him standing me in front of a mirror after a week of flu and puking and saying, "now you get an idea of what you should look like."


Sisteract
by Whoopie on Apr. 4, 2014 at 9:09 PM

My parents were obsessed with weight too. They still are-in their 80s.

Quoting Lunarprancer:

Thanks. I believe he had good intentions, but... Yeah.

Quoting NWP:

Holy Crap! That's terrible. I'm sorry.

Quoting Lunarprancer:

I love this idea and these dolls.  That said, my barbies didn't damage my self esteem.  My dad did.  He had me on diets from 7 years old.  I'll never forget him standing me in front of a mirror after a week of flu and puking and saying, "now you get an idea of what you should look like."


Lunarprancer
by Silver Member on Apr. 4, 2014 at 9:24 PM

My dad stopped with it a few years ago.  He is 80.  How did it effect you, if it did?

Quoting Sisteract:

My parents were obsessed with weight too. They still are-in their 80s.

Quoting Lunarprancer:

Thanks. I believe he had good intentions, but... Yeah.

Quoting NWP:

Holy Crap! That's terrible. I'm sorry.

Quoting Lunarprancer:

I love this idea and these dolls.  That said, my barbies didn't damage my self esteem.  My dad did.  He had me on diets from 7 years old.  I'll never forget him standing me in front of a mirror after a week of flu and puking and saying, "now you get an idea of what you should look like."


coronado25
by Silver Member on Apr. 4, 2014 at 9:26 PM
That is so sad. My own dad would have given me a complex had I respected his opinion at all. From a young age he would point out women that were attractive to him and those that were "fat slobs". He called his own sissters "disgusting blobs".

There was also a flipside to his constant praise of my physique when I was a teenager; if I expressed interest in a boy or if I got a phone call from a boy he would tell me I was just a piece of meat for the opposite sex and insinuate that I was asking to be sexually assaulted.

So happy I never have to see him again.

I played with Barbie. I also had a Holly Hobbie, a Raggedy Anne, and a Drinkie Walker. Not only did I never wish or expect to grow up looking like a Barbie Doll, I never wished or expected my children or friends to look like Raggedy Anne, Holly Hobby, or Drinkie Walker. I think this idea of wanting to look like a plastic toy is absurd and little girls who get such an idea into their head must haave a screw or two lose!

Quoting Lunarprancer:

I love this idea and these dolls.  That said, my barbies didn't damage my self esteem.  My dad did.  He had me on diets from 7 years old.  I'll never forget him standing me in front of a mirror after a week of flu and puking and saying, "now you get an idea of what you should look like."

amberNewman0213
by Member on Apr. 4, 2014 at 9:28 PM
I do feel pressure is more on girls these days. But when I was at the age to play dolls I didn't look at my barbie and say look at that tiny waist. Quite frankly I thought they looked very pretty. Now bratz dolls well that's a different story.
Lunarprancer
by Silver Member on Apr. 4, 2014 at 9:31 PM

I don't remember Drinkie Walker.  I had the others.  Lol, we are so aging ourselves.

Quoting coronado25: That is so sad. My own dad would have given me a complex had I respected his opinion at all. From a young age he would point out women that were attractive to him and those that were "fat slobs". He called his own sissters "disgusting blobs". There was also a flipside to his constant praise of my physique when I was a teenager; if I expressed interest in a boy or if I got a phone call from a boy he would tell me I was just a piece of meat for the opposite sex and insinuate that I was asking to be sexually assaulted. So happy I never have to see him again. I played with Barbie. I also had a Holly Hobbie, a Raggedy Anne, and a Drinkie Walker. Not only did I never wish or expect to grow up looking like a Barbie Doll, I never wished or expected my children or friends to look like Raggedy Anne, Holly Hobby, or Drinkie Walker. I think this idea of wanting to look like a plastic toy is absurd and little girls who get such an idea into their head must haave a screw or two lose!
Quoting Lunarprancer:

I love this idea and these dolls.  That said, my barbies didn't damage my self esteem.  My dad did.  He had me on diets from 7 years old.  I'll never forget him standing me in front of a mirror after a week of flu and puking and saying, "now you get an idea of what you should look like."


coronado25
by Silver Member on Apr. 4, 2014 at 9:32 PM
I like this doll, but I like Barbie, too. Both are simply tools for imaginative play, like all toys.

Anyone concerned that their daughter might grow up to wish for a huge head like a Bratz doll? Anyone concerned that their child's favorite stuffed animal might warp their idea of what the realanimal should look like?

If a little girl is wishing to grow up to look like a doll, ANY DOLL, she needs to get her head checked.
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