‘Normal Barbie’ is curvy with (optional) acne and cellulite

20 Nov

Normal Barbie

The Washington Post asked for children’s reactions to “Normal Barbie,” created by Nickolay Lammily with the proportions of an average 19-year-old.

Graphic designer Nickolay Lamm has proven, once again, that the anti-Barbie makes for good business.

After his crowdfunding campaign in March raised more than $500,000 from nearly 14,000 backers, Lamm built a Barbie based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s data measurements of an average 19-year-old woman.

The result: a 5-foot-4 brunette with a 33-inch waist and articulated wrists, knees, elbows and feet, to help her do, you know, what people do: walk.

With the tagline “Average is beautiful,” the Lammily dolls went on sale to the public on Thursday. They cost $25 each, and additional sets of clothes and accessories run from $17 to $27. And then there are the “Lammily Marks,” a $6 set of 38 reusable stickers offering another dose of reality: cellulite, stretch marks, acne and “booboos,” such as stitches post-appendectomy. (There also are a few less jarring stickers, such as glasses and freckles and blushing.)

Lamm told Salon that he got the idea for the stickers from a tweet by Demi Lovato suggesting that some Barbie dolls be made with cellulite. And he wants parents to see them for their symbolism: “That reality is beautiful.”

The buzz around the Lammily dolls is yet another hit to the Barbie empire, which many believe has struggled to adapt to the new realities of 21st-century young girls — and their mothers, who now have other options. Consider the rise of GoldieBlox, a toy company designed to get young girls interested in engineering, which even picked a fight with Barbie in a recent advertisement for its new action figure.

In October, Mattel reported a 21 percent drop in third-quarter profits, compared to the same quarter last year.

And even Mattel’s most recent attempt at inserting Barbie in the national conversation around women and tech has been the subject of scrutiny.

The newly released book, titled “Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer,” shows Barbie learning to program. The central conflict: While learning, the buxom blonde accidentally installs a virus on a computer and has to tap her two male friends to help her out. Barbie says she was only creating designs and that she needs “Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game.”

“Barbie’s combination of ineptitude and manipulation underscores dangerous stereotypes, whereby our value and power lies in our charms vs. our intellect,” city of Seattle startup liaison Rebecca Lovell, an advocate for kids’ coding education, told Bizwomen sister publication the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Want to see how a group of second graders actually reacts to “Normal Barbie”?Click here to see a Washington Post video.

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