Tag: Lammily

Body Image Barbie: Doing More Harm than Good? by Keira C. Wingert

It seems like the only times I hear about Barbie anymore are in conversations about her body.

We’ve all heard the statistics that claim that Barbie, if she were a real person, would be six feet tall, weigh 100 pounds, and have the hips of a prepubescent boy (Olson, par. 1). Often, people will use these statistics against the Barbie brand as a way of blaming the doll for the prevalence of unhealthy body consciousness among girls and young women. In fact, competitors have been introduced to the market to address this issue, such as the Lammily doll, a Barbie rival proportionate to the body of an average 19-year-old woman. When the concept for the doll was introduced in 2014, it garnered the attention of many adult women, who loved the idea of an average-looking doll whose accessories include acne, scars, and cellulite (yes, really!).barbieombre

In January of this year, perhaps as a response to the Lammily doll’s release and the subsequent backlash against the Barbie brand, Mattel released a new line of Barbies that made headlines and sparked a huge conversation among the doll’s fans amd critics alike. This new line of Barbies features dolls with petite, curvy, and tall bodies—a revolutionary move for a brand that has featured only one (inhuman) body type since its conception in 1959 (Pearson & Mullins, 230).

One might think that the introduction of this line of dolls would be the be-all and end-all of conversations over Barbie’s body, but in reality, it may do more harm than good. The new curvy Barbie doll doesn’t fit into the clothes of the petite, tall, and classic Barbie dolls, which begs the question:  when two little girls are playing with their dolls together, what will bring more awareness to the doll’s body type than the realization that a curvy Barbie doll cannot wear the same clothes as a petite one?


Perhaps by giving Barbie three new looks, we could be diminishing children’s self-confidence rather than boosting it. In constantly turning the conversation to Barbie’s body rather than the wealth of careers, friends, and achievements her character seems to have, we are, in turn, sending the message to young girls that a woman’s body is more important than her personality or accomplishments. According to unofficial Barbie “biographer” M.G. Lord, Barbie is a toy “designed by women for women to teach women what—for better or worse—is expected of them by society” (Lord, 8). (Interestingly enough, artist Nickolay Lamm, a man, created the Lammily doll). Barbie can be a doctor, an artist, a surfer, a teacher, a babysitter, and more, and yet all anyone seems to care about is how she looks. In only focusing on her body, we are making it clear to little girls what is expected of them by society.

This is not to say that representing body diversity is unimportant or harmful, but why should we needlessly make children more frustratingly aware of the differences between women’s bodies when they themselves are hardly aware of their own bodies? Barbie isn’t the one telling girls to focus on their bodies from a young age; we are. If we want that to change, we have to stop turning the conversation toward Barbie’s measurements and instead focus on how Barbie can inspire girls to strive for something other than aesthetic beauty.


Lord, M.G. Forever Barbie:  The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll. New York:  Morrow, 1994. Print.

Olsen, Samantha. “Why Are Barbie’s Body Measurements So Unrealistic? Little Girls Aren’t Buying It.” Medical Daily. IBT Media Inc., 31 Dec. 2014. 23 Mar. 2016.

Pearson, Marlys, and Paul R. Mullins. “Domesticating Barbie:  An Archaeology of Barbie Material Culture and Domestic Ideology.” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 3.4 (1999): p. 225-259. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

Shriver, Lionel. “Sorry Lammily, Your Dumpy Looks Won’t Fool Many Little Girls.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

New Age Barbie- Identity Found in “Flaws” by Brittany N Cozzens

This past week we have heard a lot from our peers about their experiences and thoughts on one of the world’s most popular toys, Barbie. Through the different readings we have learned that Barbie’s introduction to the world forever changed the way that women identify themselves and their material goods.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 12.34.45 PMIn Forever Barbie, by M.G. Lord, we learn that Barbie, released in 1959, was meant to be revolutionary.  She was supposed to show young girls and women how to be independent and become their own woman, and invent yourself in whatever way you choose (Lord 9). However, what we have learned through discussions and through other readings such as Pearson and Mullins “Domesticating Barbie: An Archaeology of Barbie Material Culture and Domestic Ideology” is that Barbie’s identity is found more so in the things she possess and what she wears rather that what she does. By having one of the worlds most popular toys promoting a message of material culture to kids of today, we are showing them that identity formation is solely found in perfectionism- by looking perfect and having all the right things.

However, we all know that no matter how hard we try being perfect is not possible. New age Barbie, Lammily has set out to challenge Barbie and show that identity is found in flaws and embracing who you really are.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 12.19.28 PMLammily was created in 2014 by designer Nickolay Lamm who wanted to create a doll that was realistic for the size of an average 19 year old- she has a more realistic waistline, feet are flat unlike Barbie which are solely meant to wear heels, and she even has sticker that can be purchased that include tattoos, cellulite, stretch marks, acne, and scars.

This doll shows young girls that being you doesn’t mean being perfect. Flaws are part of life and make up who we are.

While Lord may argue that Barbie was a break through for women because she could “invent herself with a costume change” (9), Lammily shows that having the right outfit isn’t what makes you who you are. Material culture perpetuated through Barbie over the years has sent the wrong message to young girls about identity formation. It’s not about what you have it’s about owning your so called “flaws” and embracing them as who you actually are.

I hope that Lammily takes off for future generations, or maybe that Barbie could me modeled more like her. To say that a child’s toy doesn’t have an impact on identity formation or gender roles is a lie. Whether young kids realize it or not, these toys are forming the foundation for future beliefs. Having a realistic looking doll that isn’t consumed with looking perfect and having everything could help in helping women attain their independence at a young age as Barbie was supposed to do when she came out in 1959.