Since the issue of toys came up with this previous post, I thought I would share a recent development to America’s favorite doll. The artist Nickolay Lamm has created a Barbie that he believes more correctly resembles the true measurements of women in our society today. Lamm states his intentions in this article, but here a few excerpts:
“I created normal Barbie because I wanted to show that average is beautiful,’’ Lamm wrote in an email to TODAY.com. “If average-looking Barbie looks this good and if there’s even a chance of Barbie negatively influencing young girls, why not make one?”
He writes in his post on MyDeals.com that “some people say that we shouldn’t pay attention to the body proportions of Barbie because she is just a toy.” However, he then cites research suggesting Barbie may lead to heightened body dissatisfaction among young girls, unhealthy eating behaviors, and a desire to eat less in order to achieve a slim body.
Lamm expresses the significance a single toy can have on the self esteems of our children and thus wished to create a Barbie that would better represent the actual female body. The issue here lies in the fact that despite his intentions this new Barbie is still created through a male’s perspective, so how much credit do I really give it? I do not believe I should discredit his “Normal” Barbie creation completely, but what is to stop this new Barbie for being another ideal body type sought after by thousands of young girls through less than healthy means?
Then again, does the creator being man or woman really change anything about the proposed social implications this Barbie is supposed to reproduce? If we are able to sell this off as a type of body type instead of an ideal body type then many of my personal worries of idealism would be resolved. Of course, in order to even get to that point, “Normal” Barbie would have to be mass produced by original Barbie manufacturer, Mattel. So far, Mattel has not made a public statement on the matter, but here’s hoping “Normal” Barbie hits the shelves right in time for the holiday season. Unfortunately, something tells me Riley still won’t be too pleased.