Friday, December 5, 2014

Barbie Encourages Unrealistic Body Type

Mariah McGlone
Staff Writer

A Barbie doll has a height of twelve inches, a waist that is three and three quarters of an inch, and hips that measure to be five inches all around. Her dimensions have been proven to be unrealistic by designer Nickolay Lamm.
 Lamm recently did the project: “What would Barbie look like in real life?” In this project, he compared Barbie’s disproportionate body to that of a healthy 19 year old’s. To do so, Lamm used 3D models for both body types.
 “Of course, Barbie is just a doll, and I’m sure people are going to say that a toy can’t negatively affect a young girl’s self-esteem. However, if people talk so much about skinny models in advertisements, surely we can talk about Barbie.” Lamm said.
 He found that if Barbie were to be scaled, she would be five feet nine inches with a bust that is thirty-six inches, an eighteen inch waist, hips that are thirty-three inches, a head circumference of twenty-two inches, and a neck that measures out to be nine inches.
 Compare this to a healthy nineteen-year-old girl that is five feet three inches and a half will have a 33.6 inch waist, a head circumference that is twenty inches, and a neck that measures to be fifteen inches. Her bust would be thirty-five inches with hips that are measurably forty.
 This information proves that a real life Barbie would not have even enough space in her body for her vital organs, considering she only would have room for half of a liver. In addition, she would need to walk on all fours, given her ankle and foot size. Imagine getting a quadruped Barbie doll for the holidays.
 Lamm takes his project of deciphering the measurements of a human Barbie a step further by creating a new more realistic and healthy Barbie doll. Nickolay Lamm calls his doll a “Lammily.”  
 “Lammily” displays proportions of a healthy nineteen-year-old girl and includes stickers that exhibit real life occurrences in a young adult girl’s life, such as acne, cellulite, and tattoos. Lamm has stateed the imperfect nature” of the dolls does not seem to be an issue and that he watched young children playing with them, laughing as they took the stickers on and off to customize their Lammilies. To prove this, he posted a video to YouTube that showcases a group of second graders’ reactions to the innovative doll. He hopes that they will appeal to teenagers, as well, given their distinct but relatable characteristics. Lamm also recently completed a study entitled: “What would Barbie look like without makeup?”
 While a Barbie doll can be dismissed a toy, why continue to promote this unrealistic body size? Almost every girl grows up playing with a Barbie doll. Even though not every child believes she needs to look like one to gain acceptance, the prevalence of a doll with unrealistic and unhealthy proportions instills that idea. The option is now there to provide a toy that girls can relate to instead of one that they wish they could look like. At a young age, girls are unadulterated by the pressure to look perfect at all times. Barbie doesn’t significantly change that, but the doll doesn’t encourage that either. Instead, Mattel introduces a specific body type that is ideal for girls to look like and for men to idolize. A Lammily eradicates the pressure of unrealistic expectations for young girls.

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