Barbie has competition this Christmas.
Nickolay Lamm took measurements of the average American 19 year old female off the CDC website, made a 3D model and then dressed her like a Barbie.
The images went viral and he used crowdfunding to fund making the dolls, which will hit the stores for 24.99. Right now my QFC grocery store has a small pile of Christmas offerings, including a Barbie dressed in pink, all gussied up for breast cancer treatment fundraising. Grundoon was hugely frustrated that most of the breast cancer money goes to treatment and not prevention, so I haven't bought one. But she costs $19.99, so 24.99 is reasonable.
And second graders like her. A video of children at a private school responding to the doll shows them saying that she looks like a family member and that she looks real. Her hair is softer than Barbie's too, judging by the video. I wondered why a private school was used, but perhaps it's about permission. Or something.
It is interesting that Mr. Lamm talks about average being beautiful. "She is fit, strong and wears minimal makeup. She promotes a healthy lifestyle." We could argue lots about Big Brother pushing everyone to be average, but I like the message that the average body is fine and can have fun and can be a doll. Barbie is impossible, everyone knows that. I cut out the article from the AARP magazine about Barbie turning 50. It contains a very interesting list of when the doll got to do different jobs. Teacher, nurse, doctor, multiracial, Army Barbie, astronaut..... It made me feel better about Barbie: her body is ludicrous but she has quietly moved into different careers over the years. It made me proud of her.
There have been other attempts to create a more realistic doll than Barbie... I have one of the Get Real Girls, the camper. She has a back pack, a sleeping bag, a camp stove, a GPS, socks and hiking boots, shorts and a t-shirt. I like her but she is still not the average American female. She's more privileged. We had the basketball one too but apparently the evil introverted thinker and extroverted feeler blew up a lot of dolls with firecrackers one Fourth of July..... only the camper has survived. She was mine. Also the Barbie twin babies, now orphans, and quite a lot of pink furniture.
The male dolls, that is, action figures, got blown up too. If Lammily is successful, will we have a male average doll? I will bet that that takes longer. I have enjoyed the action figures such as the librarian action figure and the Sigmund Freud action figure. For his graduation from nursing school, I got my Ex a male nurse action figure. He thought the doll was ridiculously great.
And me? I want a Lammily doll for Christmas. No, really. When Demi Moore appeared very pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair, I went to buy one. I wondered why I wanted one, until the man at the checkout spoke up: "Women shouldn't be seen like that."
"Like what?" I said.
"Yeah. They should stay inside. They shouldn't be seen like that."
Oh. That's why I wanted to buy it. Images of women pregnant and a beautiful woman pregnant are evil. I still have it, that evil magazine.....
Mr. Lamm: http://patch.com/new-jersey/oceancity/barbie-gets-competition-bruised-and-scarred-lammily-watch
Get Real Girl: https://www.behance.net/gallery/3590013/STARTUP-GET-REAL-GIRL-ACTION-DOLL-LINE
Get Real Girl Nini: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Real-Girl-Backpacking-Adventure/sim/B0018L29NG/2