When the concept for the new anti-Barbie doll was being developed, its maker knew the doll would either “bomb or blow up” with no in-between. The reaction to the doll’s actual release is overwhelmingly positive.
The anti-Barbie doll came out of a wounded self-image
Graphic designer Nickolay Lamm became interested in what an average doll would look like because of his painful experience in high school — the worst time of his life. He tapped into that feeling of discomfort with himself and wondered what it must be like for females, who are held up to an impossible standard of beauty.
In 2013, Lamm began an art project to design a doll based on real proportions. To determine those proportions, he went to the Centers for Disease Control’s website and found that the average American woman weighs 166.2 pounds and has a 37.5 inch waist.
The designer digitally re-scaled Barbie’s proportions with surprisingly beautiful results. A video he made of his project went viral. Lamm was subsequently featured on countless media outlets: Good Morning America, MSN, HuffingtonPost, The Daily Beast, Examiner, Business Insider, Today, BuzzFeed, Smithisonian, Glamour, Time, LA Times, BBC Radio, CNN, local television stations, and more.
The theme of the Lammily doll is ‘average is beautiful’
His goal was to show ‘average is beautiful’, which became the catch-phrase for his new company, Lammily, as well as for the Lammily doll. The response was so huge that he decided to initiate crowdsource funding for the actual creation of the doll. Within 30 days, with a goal of $95,000, he raised over $500,000.
Now, just in time for Christmas, the doll is ready to ship. Backers will each receive one of the first 15,000, shipped by Black Friday. Another 25,000 pre-ordered dolls are ready to ship before Christmas.
Will the ‘Average is beautiful’ campaign succeed? Lamm took his dolls to a second grade classroom to find out.
Viewing children’s reactions is an emotional experience
In the video, the children are asked questions about the doll by their teacher. As it unfolds, an emotional groundswell builds. The children liken the doll to their sisters, their aunts, their teachers, themselves.
The comparisons they make between the familiar Barbie and the new “average” doll are poignant. By the time they choose between a Barbie and a Lammily doll, the joy on their faces — and the tears on this writer’s face — are both surprising and indescribable.
Watch the second-graders reactions here:
In the future, the Lammily line will be expanded by an accessories pack, wardrobe options, and a new boy doll.
We all have ‘boo boos’ and scars
The accessories pack, available in January, is controversial. It includes acne, freckles, moles, scrapes, bruises, stretch marks, and scars that can be applied and removed. Lamm has received a lot of criticism for this innovation, but he says:
Look, we all get boo boos and scratches. Life isn’t perfect, we all sometimes fall down but we get back up … some kids have scars and are really shy about them.
All of us average, beautiful people do get boo boos. For decades, the Barbie doll and her impossible-to-attain looks and proportions inflicted their share of wounds on vulnerable young girls. Now the Lammily doll is here to help the next generation of girls learn to love themselves as they are — and to help some wounded women heal.