It seemed Barbie was the toughest toy to open on Christmas morning. First, you had to tear through the tough cardboard if you didn’t stab her plastic casing out. Then you had to fiddle with those tedious wire ties— given you remembered not to toss those stabbing scissors aside.
The only expectation I have for the new and normal Barbie designed by toy maker Nicolay Lamm is easier packaging. I doubt normal Lammily is going to free womankind from superficial standards. Barbie encourages girls to aim for the supernatural, but Lammily encourages girls to reach for the super lame.
Normal and realistic aren’t be interconnected terms
As her creator often reminds us in his infomercials, Lammily is designed to teach girls average is beautiful. She comes with reusable sticker acne breakouts, stretch marks, cellulite and other skin imperfections. Lammily is built according to proportions Lamm retrieved from CDC data for the average 19 year old. In America, obesity in teens has quadrupled in the past 30 years. Children shouldn’t idealize a doll that passes signs of poor eating and bad exercising habits off as normal.
On the other hand, Matel’s Barbie does encourage girls to pursue supernatural standards of beauty, which can lead to serious psychological and health complications. The measurements are so disproportionate to the average woman, research supports Barbie would be anorexic and unable to menstruate. Barbie has proven to encourage self-esteem and eating disorders in young girls, trying to meet these ridiculous quotas. And we can’t forget the permanent tip-toe feet.
Yes. Barbie herself is unrealistic, but the ideals she represents are feasible. A woman can have long, silky hair. A woman can have a clear face if she follows a healthy skin regimen. A woman can have a tight waist and plump bottom if she puts in the work.
Barbie and Lammily put looks before brains, instead of showing both go hand-in-hand.
In a promotional video for Huffington Post, Lamm heralds his doll for wearing little cosmetics. The comment is innocent, but it reflects a bigger pressure we place on women starting at a young age. We tell girls they can be either be smart or glamorous— they can’t be both. We say a girl who codes can’t be a frequent shopper at Sephora. Mattel has put more than 150 career Barbie dolls on the market, and we discount all Barbie’s accomplishments because she is wearing high heels and eye shadow. If anything, Lamm needs to put less time into designing the imperfect woman and filling the career gaps Barbie manufactures have failed to promote. Now, that would be a doll worth celebrating!