When Mattel, Inc. first launched the Barbie doll in 1959, neither the company nor the rest of the world could have foreseen the massive impact of the product. A mere doll became an important symbol of popular culture, an item anybody could recognize within seconds. Yet, Barbie’s immense popularity was not the only thing that people didn’t see coming – there was also the underlying meaning behind the doll’s appearance. The young girls who grow up playing with their Barbie collections receive an indirect message: in order to be pretty like their doll, they have to be skinny and tall. Essentially, Barbie promotes the idea that beauty has harsh qualifications. Thin legs, an impressive height, a flat stomach, a small nose, and tiny feet became the obsessions of many girls and the expectations of society.
However, it has also been established that these expectations are impossible to reach. Barbie’s proportions are so miniscule that if she was human-size, she would have to walk on all fours. She would be incapable of lifting her head, and her waist would only leave room for half her liver. Overall, the doll’s human-equivalent body parts would be twice as small as those of the average American woman.
So, why is the Barbie so highly endorsed? Why promote a product that displays an appearance that is impractical to achieve? Why adhere to our preconceived ideas of perfection when the beauty that surrounds us is calling for our attention?
A 26-year-old graphic artist and researcher, Nickolay Lamm, asked the same questions. He proceeded to do research on the average body types of 19 year old girls and constructed a doll based on the proportions he obtained. He named the doll Lammily. Straying far from the image of a Barbie, Lammily portrays a normal girl who has regular-sized legs and wears casual clothing. The doll also comes with cellulite stickers of acne and stretch marks that can be stuck on her body. Lammily is not just a portrayal of the realistic, but a celebration of the natural beauty that every girl possesses.
Lammily hits the market this year on Black Friday. Now, instead of buying boxes of Barbies, we should invest our money in a doll that is truly representative of real life. If we spark the popularity of Lammily, the next generations will grow up with the sense that a person doesn’t have to be flawless to be both beautiful and commendable.