Step asside Barbie, ‘Lammily’ is taking a turn in the spotlight!

LammilyNickolay Lamm has been at it again. You may remember his make-up free Barbie that I posted about a few months ago, well his next step was to re-imagine a Barbie-style doll which met the average proportions of a 19 year old (I assume in the US). His design prompted a demand for an actual working toy and so he put together a crowd-funding page to get the doll into production (with the help of ex-VP of manufacture at Mattel; Roger Rambeau). They’ve already exceeded their goal by double (as of 7th March 2014) so the doll is happening.

average_compositeThe opinions are starting to pour in, some of them surprisingly negative. The primary complaint seems to be that Lammily isn’t ‘average enough’, or that she’s ‘too pretty to be average’ and I don’t know what we could say to this. Is she pretty? Well yes, in an average kind of way, but there seems to be reams of research supporting the notion that when you average out a large number of faces you get an attractive (though perhaps not very distinctive) result. So that sorts the ‘too pretty to be average’ issue. To be honest given the research she’s too average not to be pretty.

The next issue is: is she really average? Do a large portion of young women have body shapes which look like Lammily’s? To be honest we may never get an answer on that. Every community you belong to may have women in it with a very different set of physical qualities. When you average their proportions out perhaps you’ll get something like Lammily’s dimensions but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any one young woman in that group will have those proportions herself.

All of that said it’s hard to deny the fact that Lammily looks less alien, a lot more human and, most importantly, a lot more healthy than I’ve ever seen Barbie look. I would agree that Nickolay Lamm hasn’t really succeeded in making the most expressive or dynamic wardrobe for Lammily but in his defence Barbie has 60 years and the brunt of Mattel behind her selection of clothing. Overall there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with Lammily apart from one glaring issue (at least for me): Lammily is an average nineteen year old. What age are the girls who will make up the target-audience of Lammily? Possibly nine or ten at the most?

groovyLottie Pony Flag Race CompFor all of Lammily’s positive attributes I have to side with a more realistic girl doll like ‘Lottie’ or Manhattan’s ‘Groovy girls’. This isn’t just because we stock them, in fact we stock them precisely because they’re a more realistic image for a young girl to try and imitate. There’s definitely a place for the aspirational enjoyment of an ‘adult-looking’ fashion doll but when it comes to producing something relatable, and something that places less emphasis on the importance of growing up quickly, I have to side with Lottie and the Groovies every time.

What do you think? Is Lammily ‘average’? Would you still prefer a Barbie? Are fashion dolls in general too mature for girls or is there an important aspirational element to that kind of play? As always your comments are more that welcome either below this post or you can feel free to send me a tweet (you can also find my twitter feed to the right of this post). Thanks for reading, Cheers, John

P.S As a side note, here’s a defence of Barbie dolls ‘written by’ the plastic icon herself (makes for interesting reading).

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2 comments on “Step asside Barbie, ‘Lammily’ is taking a turn in the spotlight!

  1. ksbeth says:

    i’d say lammily is a good middle ground in the quest for an average looking doll, she is attractive, without being overdone, and her body type is one that is common for females of her age, though many are larger or smaller, but at least she is a possibility. as for the younger looking dolls, i’m all for them, and fully believe in keeping children young as long as possible. as the mother of 3 grown girls, a woman who was once a girl herself, and teacher of kindergarten, i am all for childhood in all its messy glory.

    Like

  2. John says:

    Hi Beth, thanks for the comment, I get the impression that a lot of people are on the same page as us. I did find it strange to see negative reactions coming in about her attractiveness. I’m maybe strange for thinking this but I don’t see why we should expect a ‘normal’ person to be ugly.

    To me that says a lot about the people putting forward negative responses to this doll; that they see themselves as both ‘normal’ and ‘unattractive’. (Some) women seem to be highly effected by the media portrayal of beauty, to the extent that they don’t see ‘normal’ as attractive any more. Sadly they often seem to put themselves in the ‘ugly’ camp. It’s a sad state of affairs which might perhaps be altered for the coming generation of young women (if only slightly) by dolls like Lammily.

    Like

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