4 July 2013 by thaliakr
This is an update of a post from 2013, with even more Barbie-critique goodness.
What if Barbie dolls had the same proportions as normal women?
Nickolay Lamm has recreated a typical blonde Barbie, but at the average proportions of a 19-year-old American woman (he took the measurements from the Centre for Disease Control). And you know what? Real-girl Barbie looks amazing.
The project was at first an experiment to see what the difference would be, but after the toy was created Lamm discovered that the average American 19-year-old female figure looks great in plastic toy form, so then why aren’t these measurements just used by Mattel?
“A lot of people say we shouldn’t criticise Barbie because she is a toy,” Lamm explained to us. “However, if there’s a small chance that it’s negatively affecting young girls, and if normal Barbie looks awesome, why not create normal Barbie?” Touché.
Lamm has also done the inverse, creating images of real women with Barbie proportions:
Lammily has been manufactured! The tagline: ‘Average is Beautiful’. I like that.
Check out the release video, showing the difference between Lammily and Barbie-style dolls:
If you’re entranced by the possibilities, also check out this video of a bunch of seven-year-olds playing with new Lammilys and being interviewed about them. You don’t really need to watch the whole five minutes.
Here are some highlights, from a Time article on it:
Most of the kids thought the doll, available for purchase Wednesday, looked kind of familiar.
“She looks like my sister!” one girl exclaimed, smiling. “She kind of looks like my aunt Katie,” said another.
“She looks like a regular girl going to school.”
“She looks like she would help someone if they were hurt.”
“She’s not like other dolls… she looks real.”
That reality check didn’t prove to be a bad thing. When presented with a blonde and busty Barbie, the children said that they’d rather have the one who, if real, “would be able to stand.” A very apt observation, considering previous research showing Barbie wouldn’t be able to lift her head fully if she were an actual human.
[Read more at Time.]
The new Lammily takes it one step further, too, supplying accessories like acne and stretchmarks. How cool is that?
In other artistic commentary on Barbie, So Bad So Good drew Barbie’s proportions on a model:
Next up, Jason Freeny tried to fit a human set of organs inside Barbie’s proportions with limited success, and the BBC did some similar research and graphic stretching in this article.
Or what if we went for some more realistic themes for Barbies? Cindy Lopez and Virginia Simons have created Sleep-Deprived Barbie, Workaholic Barbie and Winter Weight Barbie:
You know I’m not a fan of Barbie, and her body shape is the main reason. But many of us were fascinated by the Architect Barbie project, and I wonder if I or you would be keener on having Barbies in the house if they were proportioned like ‘normal’ human beings?
A warm welcome to any new readers of Sacraparental! Feel free to follow us on Facebook (for daily links and resources), Pinterest (you might like to check out my Gender Politics board, perhaps) and Twitter, or sign up for email updates in the box at the top right.