An Average-Looking Doll Comes to the Rescue of Barbie-Addled Girls

A new Barbie-like doll with realistic proportions might help dispel stereotypes that influence little girls

Meet Lammily. Photo: Nickolay Lamm

Artist Nickolay Lamm is taking his images of a Barbie doll with real-world proportions and turning them into an actual doll. Called Lammily, the doll has brown hair and is based off of average human proportions. Her clothes are "strikingly simple," she wears little makeup, and she is meant to appear healthy and strong. Her motto, Lamm says, is "average is beautiful."

The crowd-funding campaign to create the first Lammily dolls has already met 150 percent of its goal, with more than 4,300 backers. Lamm told Fast Company that he was tired of waiting for companies to catch on to the demand for realistic dolls that don't look like "aliens."

And a new study finds that there is a greater reason than simple aesthetics for giving little girls realistic-looking dolls. The researchers found "what feminists have long warned: that playing with Barbie dolls drives home cultural stereotypes about a woman's place and suppresses a little girl's career ambitions," the Los Angeles Times writes.

In the study, the researchers gave several dozen 4- to 7-year-old girls either Barbie dolls or Mrs. Potato Heads to play with, and then asked the girls about future careers they might like to pursue. Those who played with Barbies (even the special "career" Barbies) believed that they have 1.5 times fewer career options than boys, the LA Times reports. The Potato Head girls, on the other hand, did not suffer any such discouragement, although, as the Times writes, "Her name is Mrs. (definitely NOT Ms.) Potato Head, and I'm not sure what line of work she has ever plied." 

If Lammily takes off, however, girls will have other career-inspiring toy options besides a mascara-sporting potato. Although Lammily is not the first doll to take on Barbie's impossible proportions—there have been plus-sized dolls and multi-racial dolls, Fast Company points out—given this latest effort's reception, perhaps the original Barbie will have to adjust her look to the changing times. 

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