New Barbie Doll is Designed to Look Like the ‘Average’ Teen – But How Average is She, Really?

Nickolay Lamm, Lammily, normal barbie, average barbie, regular barbie, realistic barbie, real dolls, barbie, fake barbie, feminism, girl toys, realistic toys

Last summer, artist Nickolay Lamm decided to show the world what Barbie might look like if she had the CDC measurements of an average 19 year-old woman in America. Fast forward to present-day, and the idea of the ‘average’ Barbie is gaining momentum. Not only has former Vice President of manufacturing at Mattel, Robert Rambeau, taken an interest in Lamm’s idea, but Lamm just launched a campaign to raise $95,000 so that he can begin production on his doll. Lamm’s doll’s tagline is: “Average is beautiful.” So, what does an ‘average’ Barbie doll look like? Well, as noted above, the Lammily doll features typical CDC measurements of a 19 year-old girl, plus wears minimal makeup and simple clothing. The doll also comes with articulated wrists, knees, elbows and feet, which allow her to be positioned in a variety of active, sporty positions that keep her “fit and strong.” While this ‘normal’ Barbie is gaining some major fans and support and I can appreciate the idea in theory, I have to ask myself if ”average’ is really the ideal we want our kids to aspire to, and if this doll indeed fits the average mold.

What do you think of 'average' Barbie?

  • 132 Votes She doesn't look very average to me. I'll stick to 'regular' Barbie.
  • 619 Votes I think 'average' Barbie is a great idea! I'd buy this doll for my child.

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To be honest, ‘average’ Barbie isn’t so average in my opinion. Quite possibly, the actual average Barbie might be semi-overweight, dressed in FAR less boring clothing and my guess is that she’d be multi-tasking on her iPad and cell phone vs. carrying a soccer ball. Call me crazy, but as the mom of a tween and as someone who has lived with my friend’s two teen girls for the last three years, I find this average, well, not so average. None of my kid’s friends or my friend’s teens friends look like anything close to this Barbie. The kids and teens I know are always experimenting with unusual clothing, makeup and hair styles and very few choose sports over screen-time, thanks to our screen-based culture. I’m pretty sure the kids I know wouldn’t relate to this doll. When I was a kid, I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have related to this doll either. Cursed with unruly curls from birth, I might have been crazy jealous of average Barbie’s nice straight hair, but I would have been insanely bored with the clothes and I’d have wondered where her lip gloss had run off to. Not to mention, as a thin, not so curvy teen, I wouldn’t have been able to relate to even average Barbie’s seemingly perfect breasts. A friend of mine even noted, “Average Barbie is too pretty to be average.”

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10 Responses to “New Barbie Doll is Designed to Look Like the ‘Average’ Teen – But How Average is She, Really?”

  1. Jedibabe says:

    This is SO overdue!! I would be happy to see my niece play with this doll. She’s cute and not prone to making young women feel the need to hate their own body. Good luck, Nickolay, with getting your doll funded and marketed. You’ve done the women a huge service and you deserve much success.

  2. aubade says:

    I think this is a step in the right direction. Obviously one doll isn’t going to be something every child can relate to – but you’d hope eventually they might expand the line to have dolls with curly hair or darker skin, etc etc. to give some variety. The issue is the real Barbie’s figure isn’t even possible and is clearly based on a sexualized male fantasy image of women. (she is in fact based off of a german doll that was based off of a sexy cartoon woman who was all about using men for money) The idea that none of this matters and “everything will be just fine” is a joke. That’s like saying racism doesn’t exist – as if there is no problem in this culture with the objectificaiton of women, rape culture, glass ceilings or anorexia/bulimia! Sure it is great they have a scientist female lego, but just yesterday my 3 year old boy was looking through the lego catalog we got after buying some duplos and I was horrified to see how 90% of the boys legos are all guns and war/battle oriented while the few pink pages for girls are all about “ooh! let’s make food and nurture!” It is pretty difficult to surround kids with play options when you walk through toysrus and this pink/blue divide slams you in the face. Barbie may not be a cause but she certainly is a symptom and it is high time that someone out there starts to make a better more realistic doll.

  3. tsukinohime says:

    Why would you want to make an overweight doll that is glued to her phone? Is that what we should be encouraging in our kids? You do know that tens aren’t the ones that’ll be playing with these dolls right? Rather, the impressionable young girls (and boys) that would look to dolls like this as role models. I love the doll, it’s a realistic and healthy image.

  4. TB says:

    Having a large rear end, thick waist, and an unattractive face is NOT something to aspire to, especially when Americans are 97% OVERWEIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. jalpara says:

    The problem here is calling her ‘average’ since ‘average’ is sometimes viewed negatively. How about we call her ‘normal’. She does seem to have normal proportions which is what we tend to see everyday on the streets of America.

  6. skelley1 says:

    God, I’m so glad we’re finally striving toward mediocrity instead of pushing the boundaries for people to be so healthy and attractive now. It was so exhausting seeing all those beautiful, successful people that we don’t have to think about anymore and can finally just look in the mirror and think, “meh; good enough.”

  7. Shelly420 says:

    Not to be creepy here, but the average teen doesn’t have boobs sagging down that low.

  8. ajkerens says:

    I think the point is not that she is the average teen in clothes and style, but that her body type and image is not disproportionate and does not give young girls a body image that is impossible to achieve. Barbie’s body and beauty standards are unhealthy because they cause girls to believe that that is true beauty rather than how their healthy body looks. The “average” that the doll makers are advertising is about her build….not her hair style or clothes. You really, really, really, like….really missed the point here.

  9. Emm1010 says:

    The revamping of Barbie is not serving the adult population of women. It is supposed to represent a ‘role model’ of sorts to our younger generation preadolescents. Yes, high schoolers are on their phones and experimenting with makeup and clothing choices, but this is not for them. They will do what ever they choose. I believe the purpose of this new Barbie is to simply showcase a woman who is not necessarily thin or extravagant, but content with herself enough to be who she is. Athleticism is something to be admired and sought after, which I believe is the right direction to go when attempting to influence our younger generations.

  10. serenity11 says:

    It is not a about relating to a doll model. Average or perfect, new doll or Barbie…it’s like we are searching outside reasons, something to guilt…but the reason always come from inside, from the priorities and our worth system. Problem is deeper. Girls are not relating to a doll as a model, they are relating to their moms, aunts and grannies. As we learn from the things our parents do and not the thing they say… if we are learned and supported to love ourselves, to respect and nurture our bodies….than there is no big deal if it is Barbie or Lammily. The way out of that endless battle is to work on ourselves our low self esteem, to respect others and to learn to see trough the image. Girls need to be learned that they are beautiful as they are… but doll can’t say it, the doll can’t give a hug, or speak about her own experience in life. Take some time for your child. Instead of spending some money on dolls , spend some time with yourself – accept yourself….and accept your child. Than the change will come.

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