Moving America Forward

This Fashion Doll Sets Out to Redefine the Meaning of Beautiful

March 9, 2014
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This Fashion Doll Sets Out to Redefine the Meaning of Beautiful
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Meet Lammily, a “Normal Barbie” that’s out to prove that average is where it's at.

Move over Barbie, there’s a new doll in town. She has flowing brown hair, hazel eyes, a smooth complexion and a toned, fit physique. She can even move her elbows, wrists, knees and ankles, unlike the iconic (and unrealistic) doll of our childhoods. Not only is she incredibly beautiful, but she’s also exceptionally average. And that’s the point.

Lammily, a doll created by Pittsburgh-based artist Nickolay Lamm, is out to prove to young ladies everywhere that average is beautiful. This idea first came to fruition last summer when Lamm gave the half-century-old Barbie a make-under. Using the Center for Disease Control measurements of the average 19-year-old American girl, Lamm created a 3-D model of “normal Barbie.” He then photoshopped it to look like the standard Barbie doll — long blonde hair, heavy makeup, etc. — and photographed both dolls side-by-side. Needless to say, the photo went viral. “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?” Lamm posed to the Huffington Post last summer.

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Fast-forward eight months, and neither Mattel nor any other toy manufacturer made strides to bring a normal-sized doll to the market. So Lamm decided to do it himself. He took the original 3-D model of the “normal Barbie” and improved upon it, adding movement in the joints, turning her hair brown and adding minimal makeup. On Wednesday, he started a crowdfunding campaign through CrowdtiltOpen to raise $95,000 — enough to produce 5,000 Lammily dolls. After just two days, he raised $160,000, approximately 170% of his original goal.

Now the question becomes whether or not young girls would actually purchase this doll if it sat on shelves next to the original Barbie and friends. While Lamm concedes that previous attempts to produce a realistically proportioned doll have failed, he thinks the key is not push the “average” message and instead, let the doll speak for itself. “The key to differentiate is that my doll is a cool-looking doll that just happens to be average,” he told Fast Co.Exist. “Very few kids are concerned about body image like parents are.” And with Barbie’s overall popularity on the decline — despite the fact that she just landed a highly coveted spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue — it’s possible that a fresh (and friendly) face could disrupt the doll market, while also proving to little girls that beauty isn’t one size fits all.

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