An American artist turned toy-maker has created a "normal Barbie" complete with an average BMI, a realistic wardrobe and stick-on acne, scars and stretch marks to combat the "divas, princesses, and mermaids" that dominate the children's doll market.
Nickolay Lamm used a crowd-funding project and US government health data to make the brown-haired Lammily doll, which reflects what Barbie would actually look like if she had the measurements of an average 19-year-old woman’s body.
To drive home the point, he also edited a video (below), which shows how Lammily's body would change if she were made into an average fashion doll.
Lamm was driven to create the doll partly because of his own negative body image as a teen growing up.
"Lammily’s instant popularity was largely driven by a concern for body image," he said in a statement on his website. "I believe this issue is of great magnitude. I myself have lived through my share of insecurities. Back in high school, I starved myself and exercised to exhaustion to have a set of six-pack abs. After achieving my desired BMI, I looked and felt terrible. This experience taught me to keep things in perspective. Every one of our bodies is different, so we should not be aspiring to some idealized standard.
"When I look at current fashion dolls, I’m reminded of my experience in high school... I’m reminded that there are some things that are just a mirage and not worth emulating. Moreover, I’m reminded that there is beauty in embracing all the aspects of who you are, and in staying true to you."
With the concept of the doll revolving around being true to yourself, Lammily also has an average wardrobe and accessories that reflect her many different facets - such as gardening or book-reading.
"I want Lammily’s accessories to be reflective of real life in miniature form. I envision her reading books that inform and playing instruments that educate on the sounds and intricacies of music," says Lamm. "I see her constructing her own home, cultivating her own garden while learning about the wonders of plants and vegetables and eating these nourishing and healthy foods. All of these aspects are authentic, and can be complimented with an online world where children can explore these realities in depth."
The graphic designer has also created a series of realistic stickers which can be added to the doll, including cellulite, scars, moles, freckles, acne and the ability to blush.
"I wanted to show that reality is cool," Lamm says. "And a lot of toys make kids go into fantasy, but why don’t they show real life is cool? It’s not perfect, but it’s really all we have. And that’s awesome."
The doll is being marketed for $24.99 (£16) and will hit the US market in time for Christmas (see the website to ask about international orders). The stickers will be rolled out in January.
Lamm aims to extend the Lammily doll in the future to include different ethnicities and different healthy body shapes, along with special edition toys based on inspirational role models from the world of sports, actors and world leaders. And, of course, a line of male dolls.
He told the Washington Post his "normal Ken" will likely be a little balding and chunky round the middle.
"Lammily represents the idea of being true to yourself in a world that too often convinces us to pursue an unattainable fantasy. Join me in promoting the beauty of reality," he says.
Watch the video of Lammily morphing into an average fashion doll, below.
What do you think? Is it a good thing to have a doll that finally reflects reality? Could the concept be taken further? Or should children's toys remain in the realm of fantasy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Photos: Nikolay Lamm