If your Facebook newsfeed is anything like mine (AKA your friends are as body-image conscious as mine are!), your newsfeed has been sprinkled, if not inundated, with images of Artist Nickolay Lamm’s new Barbie.
Using what the CDC considers the measurements of an average 19-year-old woman, Lamm has re-proportioned Barbie to look “real.” (Or, well, as “real” as a plastic Barbie doll can look, I guess). And while neither recreating Barbie (it wasn’t long ago I was talking about Barbie without makeup) nor talking about the potential implications of such unrealistic body image ideals is new, what has struck me about this is that Barbie still looks damn good. In fact, I’m not sure why Mattel hasn’t jumped on this.
While most people seem to be commenting on how different Lamm’s Barbie in “real” proportions looks, I’m actually struck by how similar she looks.
Unlike some other reinterpretations of Barbie that have wiped her of makeup or plumped her up, which, sadly albeit understandably, is met with pushback from doll makers and fans who say it too drastically strays from Barbie, Lamm’s interpretation of Barbie is unmistakably the same doll. She just looks like a healthy version of Barbie. In fact, I actually like Lamm’s interpretation of Barbie better – and not just because of the much-improved message it sends to young girls.
Lamm’s re-proportioned Barbie looks fit, athletic and healthy.
I still question whether this is really what the “average” 19 year old look like (and not just because of the platinum blonde hair and turquoise eye shadow) but when it comes to placing a beauty ideal in the hands of young girls, it’s most certainly a step in the right direction.
As Lamm told the Huffington Post, “If there’s even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks good as an average-sized woman in America, what’s stopping Mattel from making one?”
Agree, Lamm. Agree.