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.
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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