The Mattel Barbie doll, who is celebrating her 55th birthday in 2014, is often criticized for promoting unrealistic body proportions. Parents have raised concerns about the message Barbie sends to young girls about body image, but so far none of the major toy companies have come out with a real alternative. That’s why artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm decided to take matters into his own hands. He made the news last year when he compared Barbie with a 3D model of a doll based on the CDC measurements of an average 19-year old woman. At the time he told The Huffington Post:
“If we criticize skinny models, we should at least be open to the possibility that Barbie may negatively influence young girls as well. Furthermore, a realistically proportioned Barbie actually looks pretty good. If there’s even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks good as an average-sized woman in America, what’s stopping Mattel from making one?”
The images went viral, and many people enquired where they could buy “normal Barbie”. So, Lamm took the plunge and launched a fundraising website to begin production on the “Lammily” doll last week. The brown-haired doll has a more realistic body shape, wears minimal makeup, promotes a healthy lifestyle and can wear sneakers and sensible heels. The artist hoped to raise $95.000 to start production. Instead, after only 24 hours, $150.000 had come in. The counter is currently at over $375.000, with 25 days left to go.
A detailed 3D digital prototype wearing a blue shirt with ombré effect, denim shorts and white sneakers has been created — Lamm’s cousin helped him come up with the outfit design. Robert Rambeau, former Vice President of manufacturing at Mattel, took on a consulting role in the project and is helping the designer to select the right manufacturer. All extra money will be reinvested back into the project. With the explanation behind the “Average is beautiful” slogan, the Lammily doll is bound to win over plenty more hearts:
“Has there ever been a non-beautiful average sunset? Who you are, that is beautiful. We need to rethink our perception of ‘average’. It doesn’t signify mediocrity, but rather it challenges us to think more deeply. Average includes us all. And all of us are beautiful.”
What do you think of the Lammily doll? Would you consider investing in crowdfunding initiatives that promote positive body image?