The 'average' doll v Barbie
- 6 March 2014
A fashion doll with reasonably standard human body proportions - as opposed to the exaggerated dimensions of a Barbie - is going to be manufactured. Why has it taken so long, asks Denise Winterman.
It's time for Barbie to make a new friend. Meet Lammily, who could soon be sitting alongside her on toy shop shelves. American artist Nickolay Lamm created a prototype of a Barbie-like doll last year based on US government measurements for an average 19-year-old American woman and the response was huge. He now wants to produce his doll and is close to crowdfunding the $95,000 (£57,000) he needs to start production.
"What if fashion dolls were made using standard human body proportions? This is the question I asked myself after comparing fashion dolls to typical body proportions," he says on his website. He's not the first to make the comparison. The Magazine calculated what a real life Barbie would look like back in 2009, scaling her up to human proportions using a model who was a size 10/12. The results were rather eyepopping, as you can see below.
Barbie's figure has regularly come under fire over the years. Critics argue her proportions are unrealistic at best and damaging at worst. Lamm says rather than waiting for toy companies to change their doll designs he would manufacture his own.
"Finally someone has been brave enough to show what a woman really looks like," says Pat Hartley, body image expert and author of Body Images: Development, deviance and change. "It's taken such a long time for a doll like this to even get close to production because a lot of people have been making a lot of money from projecting the image of the stick-thin woman as the ideal. People in the diet and fashion industry. It's time someone fought back." Barbie manufacturer Mattel defended the doll's proportions in an interview earlier this year saying they are designed to make play easier, not be realistic.
In another divergence from Barbie, the Lammily has minimal makeup, and a less flamboyant wardrobe. Gone are the pink miniskirts, diamante denim jackets and glitter stilettos, in are chic dresses, casual denim shorts and trainers.