• Wed, Mar 5 - 4:00 pm ET

Finally, Someone Creates A Barbie Doll That Won’t Make Your Daughter Feel Bad About Herself

Oh Barbie. People do love to hate you. Don’t take it personally, it’s just that your crazy waist size, perky boobs and endless ability to stand in heels makes some of us scratch our heads and roll our eyes. You basically made my whole childhood great so I don’t want to offend you by saying you’re not the best role model for my daughter. But it’s time for us to both admit that there must be a better way.

We need some dolls that are more representative of what our children actually look like. Artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm is actually doing something about it with a project that aims to make Barbie look a little more like what the average girl actually looks like. He’s designed a new doll; her name is Lammily.

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I know what you’re thinking – this is just Skipper. And no one wanted to play with Skipper. I would argue that the reason no one wanted to play with Skipper is because she was a kid and Barbie was an adult. If we were going to play make-believe, we wanted to shoot for the moon.

But Lammily doesn’t appear to be a kid. And there’s also no skinnier, taller big-headed Barbie in her group making all the other dolls feel inferior. These dolls are dressed in sporty little outfits with sneakers. Their bodies are made to run and jump and be active:

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Lamm started his crowdfunding project today and he’s already earned almost $10,000 of the $95,000 he’s trying to get in the next 30 days. He says of the project:

A highly detailed and very accurate 3D digital prototype of Lammily has been created. The manufacturer will use this model to make the physical doll.

I’ve been consulting with Robert Rambeau, former Vice President of Manufacturing at Mattel, who has offered his experience and expertise in selecting a highly qualified manufacturer.

I need your help to cover the costs of tooling and molding, and to meet the manufacturer’s minimum order quantity.

I’m guessing the contributions are rolling in due to his incredible portfolio. This guy is seriously talented. Do you remember the whole “This Is What An Average Man Looks Like” story that went viral a few months ago? Lamm’s designs were behind it.

I love this doll and I love this idea. I hope he gets the funding needed to make it a reality. Than it’s just up to those of us who do the buying in our families to give these dolls a try. I’ll still buy Barbie, because I love her. I think it’s up to us as parents to give our kids healthy body images, I would never task a doll with that roll. But I think we should all expand the variety in our kid’s toy chest.

I love you, Barbie. But it’s time for more choices.

(Photos: Nickolay Lamm)

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  • ChickenKira

    I really would say that the vast majority of little girls don’t feel bad about themselves because of Barbie and the constant suggesting that they do would do much more harm than the doll itself.

  • Crusty Socks

    Do people really believe that girls develop self image problems solely or mostly attributable to Barbie dolls?

    Like in most mental health problems, certain peoples are more prone to it than others. And you’d think that for most girls, they tend to have other issues that are being ignored. I’m worried that we’re so focused on Barbie, we’re neglecting the bigger factors.

    • Ashley Austrew

      I don’t think anyone is really saying self esteem issues are mostly attributed to dolls, but I definitely feel like it’s one of those things where the messages about how women are “supposed” to look come at kids from all angles. If we could add some positive diversity to the toy box, why wouldn’t we?

    • Ms. Anne

      I agree with Ashley. It isn’t that Barbies in and of themselves are dangerous, it’s that they are part of a larger culture in which girls are constantly bombarded with these messages– Barbies are one part of that larger whole, in which girls are given this overall message about how they should look, what they can do, who they should be. It seems to have gotten a lot more intense in the past decade or so. So giving girls dolls that are more realistic and more focused on actions helps to guide them in a different direction and challenges that message.

      That being said, we had Barbies as kids and we never played with them the way you were supposed to. They were thrown around, beheaded, hit by the Barbie bus. They had a rough time of it.

      And this is encouraging parents to use the free market to make new decisions for their daughters– what is available tends to be taken for granted, and maybe with different options parents and daughters will question the status quo a bit more. Just because many people buy Barbies doesn’t mean that they aren’t part of a larger issue.

    • Williwaw

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who beheaded my dolls.

    • pixie

      There was a time I was very much into The Addams Family and wanted to be Wednesday Addams. I decapitated a few of my dolls so I could be more like her (because, although I’m incredibly pale, my hair is blonde and there was no way my mom would let me dye my hair black, especially at that age).

      …though I did regret it later.

    • Crusty Socks

      Should we do that for everything that has a message about how women are “supposed” to look too?

      It’s like people who blame McDonald’s for fat kids. I know this is apples to oranges since we’re talking about realistic vs. fantasy as opposed to food ingredients.

      But ultimately, I’m a free market guy and you’re responsible for yourself (and your family) guy. Don’t like Barbies, don’t buy it. Mattel/Disney sell heck of a lot of Barbie/Princess dolls, and that tells me most parents have no problems with it.

    • Guest

      Perhaps we will see when these “more realistic” looking dolls hit the market as to what parents would like to buy for their children. Barbie has never had any real competition and she does have that nostalgic feel but I feel like, with anything, having more options available is better.

    • Crusty Socks

      Hey, if these dolls sell well, good for whoever markets them.

    • candyvines

      I don’t believe self image problems are only attributable to Barbie, but she is one of the first of a barrage of images of “ideal” body type that people are exposed to their whole lives. It’s nice to have another option.

  • lin

    Awesome! These are exactly what I would want to buy for my daughter.

  • Tina

    I love these! Does anyone else find them so much more adorable and awesome than barbie BECAUSE they are a miniature of how real people look? It’s like I’m staring at a tiny version of myself, hips, butt and everything!

  • Guest

    At first I was like well this is stup–…omg those are cute! I will totally buy those for my kids.

  • pixie

    These are kind of cute!

    The only issue I have, though, is the name. I assume it’s supposed to reflect the creator’s name, but I’m just not thinking it’s a great name. Not horrible, but just lacking…something.

    • Jessie

      All I keep thinking of is “Laminate,” and/or some douchebag Mean Girl doll calling her “HAMmily” after she moves into the toybox and ruining her self esteem (yes, I watched too much Toy Story as a kid).
      “Lammily” sounds like one of those yoonique-special-snoflayke names we see so often today, and makes me kind of cringe.

  • Diana

    Can I just say that the best thing abut these, the thing that has my inner child jumping around in glee is that they’re FULLY JOINTED! That was my holy doll grail as a kid.

  • Williwaw

    The thing I hated about Barbie when I was a kid was that she wasn’t fully articulated. (That, and those stupid tiny little shoes! And her vapid smile!) Back then, they made the Barbie-sized GI Joe dolls, and they were so much better, since all the major joints moved. Also, they had much better accessories (helicopter, rubber raft, toy sharks, etc.), so we used to send GI Joe and Barbie on jungle adventures together….although apparently Barbie has gotten more versatile since I was a kid.

    I wouldn’t mind more toys marketed at girls that weren’t all pinkpurpleglitterprincessy, though. The best toys I recall having were the LEGO construction yard and my fingerprint kit. (I was also into Baby Tender Luv and Ballerina Barbie for awhile, but they spent more time as creepy props when we made haunted houses than getting dressed and undressed.)

  • RayneofCastamere

    These dolls are adorable! I love them!

    But at the same time, I gotta wonder reading some criticisms of Barbie: was I the only little girl who used her Barbies to act out fantasies of godhood and not as a role model? ‘Cause I read a lot of mythology and I would pretend to be a wrathful goddess controlling and manipulating the lives of my dolls, using some as minor goddesses under my thrall and the rest as hapless mortals bent to my will…

    Or maybe I was just an…interesting child.

    • SarahJesness

      Someone should totally make a line of dolls and market them in such a way that encourages girls to use them as subjects/followers.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I used mine to act out plots from The Young & The Restless (My Grammy used to take care of me when I was sick.) Kidnappings, infidelity, intrigue galore!

    • http://www.makingloveinthemicrowave.com/ Aja Jackson

      Haaaa- I thought I was the only one who did this. My grandmother was a big Young and the Restless fan too and as a result my Barbies were quite scandalous!

    • Jessie

      No, I totally did this too! Yay fo us. :D

    • Bic

      I had a few Barbies, but most of mine were the UK version Sindy. She was the same size from what I can remember, just with bigger feet.

      I used mine for fairly traditional lifestyle Play. Although admittedly It was the lifestyle of the rich and famous, my girls lived a life of luxury and debauchery.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sindy

    • Nicole Krieger

      Yep. Mythology, Narnia, Little House on the Prairie… Medieval times, Colonial times… I’m sad by his decision to just make normal, realistic clothes for his doll.

  • Rachel Sea

    All issues of body-image aside, I’d buy those because they’re better looking dolls with more poseability.

    The name is super dumb though. They should call her Lily or Emily or some other less contrived name.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    There is no way this doll will succeed unless it has a ton of outfits to choose from, and various fun accessories, and is a little more affordable than Barbie so parents will actually buy said outfits.
    Because starting with a new doll line isn’t as fun as playing with an existing one. You get a new Barbie and you have a whole wardrobe at the ready from all your other Barbies. New dolls can’t wear the clothes and playing dress up is half the fun. That’s why my Jem and Ariel dolls didn’t get as much play. I could stuff Ariel in my Lady Lovelylocks dress, but that was about it.
    I’d suggest each doll come with three outfits, and have theme packs available to buy outfits/accessories in bulk.
    You can buy your daughter this doll all you like, but unless she comes with the goods to compete with Barbie for her attention, good luck!

    • SarahJesness

      Yeah, I’m wondering the same thing. Barbie is popular in large part because there are so many options. Even non-Barbie doll lines that have gotten popular usually have some crazy theme and/or lots of stuff to go with. Bratz came with a lot of accessories. Monster High is, well, monster themed. And so on.

      Lammilly is normal, but she might be TOO normal. Girls are going to be more into dolls that encourage them to act out more fantastic situations that they can’t play out in real life.

      Know what I think would be really cool? If someone made a Build-a-Bear type of store for fashion dolls. Girls can customize their dolls (like designing the face on a computer and having a 3D printer make it) and then choose whatever clothing and accessories they want.

    • pixie

      That would be the BEST idea. And I would probably spend way too much money there…
      I go a little crazy when I let my creativity get out of control. I just like creating things.

    • SarahJesness

      Hey, I’d be tempted to get one as well, and I’m not even into dolls any more. It would be cool if someone could figure out a way to set up a business like that. Homogeneity wouldn’t be so much of a concern if girls could totally customize the doll. And by choosing whatever accessories they wanted, it would encourage more freedom rather than pressuring them to play in a certain way. Take a step further and introduce outfit/accessory sets based on real life women and girls who have done important shit.

      JANE GOODALL SET. COMES WITH FIELD OUTFIT, RESEARCH SUPPLIES AND CHIMP FAMILY! Hell yeah. :)

  • SarahJesness

    Eh, I rather doubt that this doll will sell. Not because she has a realistic figure, but because she doesn’t look particularly interesting. She’s normal, but will little girls want to play with dolls that just represent regular people? Barbie is popular in large part because she has so much to choose from. Barbie is available as a rock star, doctor, various kinds of athletes, mermaid, fairy princess…

    • Ann

      Three words… American Girl Dolls.

    • SarahJesness

      But those are really expensive, and the child characters of American Girl dolls have a different appeal than the teenage and adult ones represented by Barbie and other fashion dolls. When girls get dolls like those, they usually want to play out “grown up” stories like things involving careers. The American Girl dolls are a different niche.

    • Nicole Krieger

      Also, they come in different time periods and settings… colonial, victorian, amerindian…

  • Kelly

    So, skinny, pretty dolls make little girls feel bad about themselves and we’re fixing that with a skinny, pretty doll?

    LMAO… OK

    • brebay

      Yeah, only this time, we’re giving them a skinny doll and telling them she’s not skinny…no problem there…

  • brebay

    Lammily? Was Nevaeh already taken?

  • Shanzie

    While the intention is good, I’m not sure if kids will find these dolls appealing. “Realistic” can be…boring. Part of the reason kids play is to ESCAPE reality. That’s why they like Star Wars, Hello Kitty, toy dinosaurs, Monster High, etc…

    • SarahJesness

      Agreed. I say give Lammilly a more interesting expression, a rock star outfit, some fantasy outfits, some battle armor, and a ridable unicorn with matching battle armor.

  • Marisa

    I’ve yet to meet someone who actually developed self-esteem problems from playing with a Barbie. It seems to be something that adults fear is happening but in reality I don’t think it is or happens very rarely. Kids are not idiots. Kids know that Barbie is a doll. She’s not real. Just look at her. Growing up I used to find it weird she had no genitals and that her feet were so pointy and her boobs looked weird and her hair was like straw. Why would I ever want to look like her? I think the idea of a more body realistic doll is a great idea and that doll looks great but let’s stop picking on Barbie so much.

  • BStottlemyre

    Barbies are overrated. I played with G.I. Joes. And the few barbies I had, usually ended up with bad hair cuts & were later discarded.

  • http://www.makingloveinthemicrowave.com/ Aja Jackson

    Maybe it’s just me, but if Barbie looks unrealistically weird, Lammily just looks like the real girl that everybody is supposed to want to look like. She’s got the thigh gap that all the girls want, the good waist to hip ratio…I would probably be more prone to feel bad about myself by looking at her than at Barbie since to me Barbie was never supposed to look real.

    Not to say that I have a problem with the doll. I would probably still buy it, but I doubt whether it would produce the intended result. If you don’t look like what’s “average” you won’t identify with this doll anyway.

    • Kat

      Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking: “Man, Barbie never made me look at my butt.”

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