There’s a new doll in town, and she may just change how young girls feel about their bodies as they grow into teenagers. The Lammily doll will give girls a realistic view of what their bodies may grow into once they hit puberty, instead of the anatomically impossible Barbie.
“I wanted to show that reality is cool,” Graphic designer and inventor Nickolay Lamm, 26, told 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.”
Lamm spent a year developing several body image projects on the computer with the goal of showing how average can be beautiful. He used computer imaging to compare how distorted girls’ toy dolls are compared to the typical and realistic human body proportions of young women, and after a year of designs and fund raising the dolls are set to hit the market January 2015.
“This is the doll people have been waiting for,” Lamm said. He raised $501,000 with the initial goal of $95,000 through crowdfunding. He created a model on a 3D printer based on what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is the average 19-year-old American woman’s chest, waist, hip, and height measurements. He painted her over in Photoshop and placed the doll next to the unachievably thin and tall Barbie body. As soon as the images of the two dolls were released, they went viral last summer.
“Parents and their kids were emailing and asking where they could buy the ‘Normal Barbie’ — but they didn’t exist,” Lamm said. “To be honest, I knew it was either going to bomb or blow up; there was no in between. You know, people were saying this whole project was a joke from the beginning, so I have no doubt some people will take it as a joke. But I hope there are enough people who believe what I believe.”
Finally, the Lammily doll has been released and stands to represent the typical human body proportions. It gives a normal, healthy standard for little girls to grow into, instead of limiting them to the unrealistic body types that Barbie set in 1959. Lamm has been consulting with Roger Rambeau, the former vice president of Barbie’s manufacturer Mattel. At $24.99, the doll comes in a denim shirt, shorts, and sneakers, and for $5.99 extra, a sticker extension pack complete with acne, freckles, moles, blush, scars, stretch marks and cellulite to give the doll a complete customization.
“Some people were like, ‘Oh my God,’ as if I’m promoting domestic violence or something,” Lamm said. “Look, we all get boo-boos and scratches. Life isn’t perfect. We all sometimes fall down, but we get back up.” Lamm’s aunt recommended scars, “Because, you know, some kids have scars and are really shy about them.”
The doll is sure to stir up some critics, but no one can deny that the normal expectations trump Barbie’s body. With the 55-year-old’s 5-foot-9-scaled frame, 18-inch waist line, 33-inch hips, and 36-inch bust that’ll put most prepubescent girls to shame, it’s no wonder why Americans are in need of a reality check.