Bridging the Opportunity Divide

The Normal Barbie Makes Its Debut

November 26, 2014
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The Normal Barbie Makes Its Debut
The Lammily doll is modeled after an average 19-year-old and sports trendy, yet practical, fashions. Lammily via Facebook
What do kids think about her?

Eight months ago, a fashion doll boasting “realistic” proportions made headlines. Modeled after the average 19-year-old American woman, Lammily was dubbed the “Normal Barbie” for not having the mutant measurements of the iconic doll from our childhoods.

After a successful crowdsourcing campaign, Lammily is finally here, with optional acne and all (more on that later). But will kids actually like her?

Lammily creator Nickolay Lamm decided to present his new doll to a second grade classroom in Pennsylvania. And no surprise, the doll was a hit.

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“I like her!”

“She looks like my sister.”

“She looks like she’s a regular girl going to school.”

The students also noticed Lammily’s feet can bend and look more realistic, unlike Barbie’s perma-arched toosties that wouldn’t support the weight of her body.

“I wanted to show that reality is cool,” Lamm tells TIME. “And a lot of toys make kids go into fantasy, but why don’t they show real life is cool? It’s not perfect, but it’s really all we have. And that’s awesome.”

MORE: These Women Invented a Toy That Truly Includes Every Child

Instead of high heels, a tiny hairbrush, or a pink convertible, this doll comes with much more interesting accessories. Plus, you can buy a reusable sticker pack to give Lammily some cellulite, scrapes, stitches, scars, freckles, acne and many other real-life distinctions. Lamm emphasizes to TIME that he wasn’t trying to promote an image of violence, “Look, we all get boo boos and scratches. Life isn’t perfect, we all sometimes fall down but we get back up.”

Barbie’s impossible looks, size and even her career choices have been analyzed (and criticized) for decades, but it does seem lately that the 55-year-old doll has lost her edge. Barbie sales plunged 21 percent compared to the same time last year, according to the Washington Post, as young girls are gravitating towards Mattel’s Monster High dolls, Disney’s “Frozen” line, as well as games on tablets and smartphones. None of these toys look realistic either, so girls don’t necessarily prefer toys that look more like them, but they do go for what’s popular and what their friends are playing with.

That’s why there should always be space on the shelf for toys like Lammily, so we can teach more children that average is beautiful and flaws are perfectly normal.

Lammily is available for purchase on this website.

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