Is “average” beautiful?

Nickolay Lamm, an artist and researcher, set out to create a doll from the average 19 year-old girl’s body size proportions. In less than a day he raised enough capital to put his project in motion through a crowd funding website. He named this first-edition toy “Lammily”. She wears simple clothes and minimal makeup to promote the tag line “average is beautiful”.

140307115326_1394141284000-Lammily

Check out the video below to see more in detail what Lammily looks like.

Lamm kickstarted his project last year when he showed what Barbie would look like if she was modeled using an average teenager’s measurements. Using computer renditions and 3D models, Lamm put Barbie next to the average girl doll and visually represented the great disparity between fiction and reality. Thus, he unveiled the unachievable beauty standard that Barbie sets for young women by showing that her body is completely unrealistic and unattainable for young women.

Instead of waiting for doll companies to take progressive steps towards a more accurate representation of young women, he decided to launch Lammily and so far has received much acclaim for his “be the change” attitude.

However, there are many issues that are not addressed by this seemingly progressive move. To begin with, the fact that dolls are still being marketed to girls shows that there are specific gender roles being assigned to women from an early age. Regardless of whether or not the dolls look like the “average” girl, what is being emphasized is that girls should focus on their appearance. It also heightens insecurity for girls who do not look like the “average” doll. This could also have a more racial undertones seeing as Lammily does not come in any other skin tones.

This following YouTube video explains exactly what advertisements do to reinforce stereotypical and gendered behavior that ultimately segregates children into their prescribed gender roles from an early age.

The video brings up the point that the toys that are marketed to girls “prioritize appearance over intelligence” and limits their creative development. Although I do not know if it would be possible to ban all advertising targeted towards children under the age of 12, I agree with all of the points she made about the indirect messages that advertisers send children. So will Lammily actually increase young girls’ self-esteem?

References

Bahadur, N. (2013, July 07). ‘normal’ barbie by nickolay lamm shows us what mattel

dolls might look like if based on actual women. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/01/normal-barbie-nickolay-lamm_n_3529460.html

feministfrequency. (2011, Nov 16). “Toy Ads and Learning Gender”. [Web Video].

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZn_lJoN6PI

Lamm, Nickolay. (2014, March 4). “Lammily – Average is Beautiful”. [Web Video].

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfQu8pq0kok#t=94

Lee, J. (2014, March 07). Watch out barbie: Average body lammily doll is coming. USA

Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/03/06/average-barbie-lammily-doll/6113875/

Stampler, L. (2014, March 05). The new barbie: Meet the doll with an average woman’s

proportions. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/12786/the-new-barbie-meet-the-doll-with-an-average-womans-proportions/

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