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You can help crowdfund an “average” Barbie, but not a plus-size one

Lammily doll
Nickolay Lamm
Lammily may be more realistic than Barbie, but she isn’t for everyone.
By Rachel Feltman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Soon, you could buy your kids a doll that looks like a healthy, average young woman. Last year, artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm created a “Barbie” based on the measurements of average US females. The concept went viral, and now he’s crowdfunding its production using CrowdtiltOpen, taking pre-orders for dolls to be shipped late this year (assuming he reaches his crowd-funding target) and costing $17 and up each. But Lamm isn’t going for total inclusivity, and he won’t be making his dolls any heavier than average.

Nickolay Lamm
Lammily is based on CDC data for 19-year-old females in the US.

“Lammily” is a tweaked version of Lamm’s “Real Barbie” prototype, and she’s got everything she needs to hit the shelves: Not just articulated limbs, but a picture-perfect face and impossibly shiny hair, too. She may be average in terms of body measurements, but she’s still representing an unfortunate standard of beauty—just a brunette one, with a butt.

That said, it’s a step in the right direction.

Nickolay Lamm
Of course the “average” doll will still be stunning.

Lamm felt it was important to do more than get people thinking about Barbie’s proportions. “I felt I had an obligation to do this,” he told Quartz. “The Real Barbie project was cool and everything, but I didn’t want to just frame that image on my wall and call it a day. I wanted to create something real.”

But how real? Lamm says that the also popular “Plus-size Barbie” concept isn’t something he’ll ever emulate. “I want Lammily to be about promoting a healthy lifestyle,” Lamm said. “I’m all about diversity and loving yourself, but we do have an obesity epidemic. There are healthy plus-sized women out there, but as I whole I don’t want dolls that make kids think that being obese okay.”

Lamm has raised close to $6,000 of his $95,000 crowd-funding target. If successfully funded, Lamm hopes his doll will provide a more realistic alternative for kids. “But I see girls playing with both Barbie and Lammily at the same time,” he said. “I’m not trying to be a rival, or to change the way Barbie is.”

An average, healthy-looking doll is a great idea, so Lammily could be a great start. But for many of the parents crowdfunding the project, an average (and fairly caucasian) doll might not truly be the anti-Barbie they hope for.

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