Barbie’s had a major moment earlier this year, when, after many years of public pressure, Mattel launched a new line of the fashion doll with a healthier, more realistic body image than the tiny-waisted original. But months before Mattel’s big announcement came, Lammily dolls — the long-awaited line of “normal Barbies” from Nickolay Lamm, an artist and researcher who has for years been behind a series of awareness campaigns about Barbie’s unrealistic body proportions and how they can be harmful to girls.
Today he officially sets his sights on improving the body image of young boys by kicking off a crowd-funding campaign to manufacture his follow-up doll — a male Lammily, based on the proportions of an average 19-year-old man.
“He may not have a six-pack, but he has a fantastic sense of humor,” notes the fundraising website, which launched Wednesday and had already pulled in more than $11,000 in donations by mid-afternoon. “He may not have the biggest biceps, but he has a big heart. He may not look like a runway model, but he values himself for who he truly is, and always makes sure to pay the same respect to others!”
Lammily, the page explains, is a “cross between a wholesome doll and articulated action figure,” created with anthropomorphic data from Dr. Matthew Reed, a biomechanics research professor at the University of Michigan.
“Women face unrealistic beauty standards, but men also feel pressured — to be tall, muscular, have a full head of hair, etc.,” Lamm, 26, tells Yahoo Beauty, regarding the inspiration behind his male Lammily doll. “With realistically proportioned boy dolls, I want to show both boys and girls that real is beautiful, that you don’t have to look like a superhero to be a superhero.”
Lamm says he was thrilled to learn about the new Barbie line earlier this year, and that he’s proud to have paved the way.
“I think what Mattel did with the new body shapes is great, because it promotes diversity and it validates the trend we started in 2014,” he says, referring to the preorder announcement for his female Lammily doll. “Mattel’s new dolls are on the stylized side, and Lammily’s dolls are on the more realistic side, in terms of reflecting human proportions.”
Although big companies had assumed for a long time that kids wouldn’t like dolls with realistic shapes and sizes, he adds, the release of his doll two years ago created a flurry of excitement both in the media and among young consumers. “We showed that kids can really like them because they can relate to them,” he says. “So I feel that Lammily definitely had a hand in influencing the toy industry.”
Photos: Nickolay Lamm