By now, you’ve probably seen the photos of Nickolay Lamm’s ‘normal’ Barbie circulating the Web. Rather than the big boobs and tiny waist, Lamm’s toy looks, well, average. She’s not as defined the middle, her chest is kinda flat and she’s got some meat on her thighs. Take a look for yourself:
Grown women are singing the doll’s praises because it represents ‘real’ women, but last I checked adult women don’t play with Barbies. So I decided to ask my 4-year-old daughter what she thought when looking at the two dolls side by side. Her response:
“They look the same.”
Even when I prodded her, “Which doll would you rather have?” She answered, “Both. I like the both the same.”
So let’s be honest here. While this doll is great for adult women with body issues, it actually probably does nothing for small children who just like playing with dolls. Neither Barbie looks the child who is actually playing with the doll, therefore it’s really not surprising that my daughter–and probably others–doesn’t see any huge difference. As my daughter put it, “They both look like grown-ups.”
Sure, some will make the argument that body issues come along later in life and when one reflects back on playing with a ‘perfect’ Barbie that only compounds the issue, but I’m not sure I buy that. As one of our Facebok readers so poignantly pointed out, “They are toys not people. You cannot blame your self image on an inanimate object.” Harsh, but also true.
If they were to actually mass market ‘normal’ Barbie, I’d probably buy one, but that wouldn’t stop me from buying ‘perfect’ Barbies either. As a parent, I believe it’s up to me to teach my child that she is beautiful no matter her shape, size, skin color or hair texture–not Mattel.
But maybe that’s just me. What are your thoughts on ‘normal’ Barbie. Big deal or just something to stir up body image issues again? Weigh in in the comments.