Friday, Aug 1, 2014 01:44 am est

Double X: Lammily doll presents better image of women than Barbie

Posted on April 4, 2014 | by Lena Rawley

Last year, Pittsburgh-based artist Nickolay Lamm made a Barbie doll with the proportions of a 19-year-old girl. He replaced Barbie’s long legs and impossibly trim waist with a more realistic, healthy and athletic body. Americans were shocked when Lamm placed his doll next to Mattel’s Barbie, displaying the awful discrepancy between the two.

As of last month, Lamm has received sufficient funding to create a line of properly proportioned dolls, which are expected to go on sale in November, called Lammily Dolls. But Lammily is more than just a doll — it’s a blessing. For far too long Barbie and her physically impossible features have promoted an unrealistic standard of beauty that has negatively affected women and young girls.

Only one out of 2.4 billion women has a waist the size of Barbie and one out of 4.3 billion women would possess Barbie’s gracefully thin neck. Other features of Barbie would not allow her to survive as a human being. The weight of her head could not be supported by her neck and she would have to rely on crawling to be mobile.

The bright pink box that Barbie comes in is a coffin for a young girl’s self-esteem. In fact, Barbie’s unrealistic image has been clinically proven to be incredibly detrimental. A University of Sussex study that surveyed girls ages 5 to 8 found that girls who had been exposed to Barbie dolls have significantly lower self-esteem and poorer body confidence than girls who had not. The girls who had been exposed to Barbie were also more likely to develop an eating disorder. The university’s findings are extremely alarming considering that 90 percent of girls ranging from ages 3 to 10 own at least one Barbie.

It is true that some Barbies promote excellent career aspirations for young girls. The dolls come dressed as doctors, dentists, veterinarians and a host of other occupations. Yet, Lammily dolls can have the same effect while also promoting an appearance that will make a girl feel more comfortable with her own body.

In the same University of Sussex study, participants who were exposed to a doll with healthy body proportions had significantly higher self-esteem and body confidence than those exposed to the Barbie.

Barbie encapsulates society’s unrealistic expectations of women. If we continue to give the doll to little girls, we are passing these expectations on to the next generation. A woman’s body needs to be celebrated for what it is, not held to implausible standards. If we want to emphasize the importance of healthy body image, we must make toys that promote such an idea. For holidays, birthdays and special occasions, let’s have young girls unwrapping dolls that encourage self-confidence and not unrealistic expectations.

Lena Rawley is a staff columnist. Double X is published every Friday. Email her at opinion@nyunews.com.

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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

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Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

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Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

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Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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