The future of toys for boys? This new doll is more like actual men ... and less like Ken.

We talk a lot about girls and women having negative body image thanks to the endless barrage of unattainable standards presented by the media.

But what about boys?


Are boys' perceptions of themselves negatively affected by being presented with unattainable standards of physical appearance?

Photo by iStock.

Nickolay Lamm thinks so — and he wants to do something about it. Lamm is the creative mastermind behind the original Lammily doll, a realistic Barbie-type doll that he created based on the CDC's measurements of an average 19-year-old woman.

Now, he's back and ready to tackle the issues he feels boys and men face: to be tall and muscular, to have a full head of hair, and a whole lot more.

"It would be unfair to ignore the fact that boys too are affected," he told Upworthy.

From his desire to begin chipping away at these unrealistic standards for boys and men came the newest Lammily doll:

Photos provided by Nickolay Lamm, used with permission.

This doll was created based on the proportions of the average 19-year-old man, provided by a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Lamm is currently crowd funding to begin producing and selling it.

Unlike other dolls (ahem, Ken), the focus of this one isn't six-pack abs and impressive quad muscles. It's on him as a person — his personality and how he treats others.

The website sums up the new Lammily doll:

"Lammily Redefines What It Means to Be Manly
He may not have a six-pack, but he has a fantastic sense of humor.
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!
In following with these themes, a storybook pamphlet will be included with each doll illustrating his background story."



"With the realistically proportioned boy dolls, I want to show boys that you don't have to look like a superhero to be a superhero," Lamm explained.

He recognizes the pressure on girls and women is more overt and unrelenting, but it's not right to ignore the pressure boys feel simply because it's not as severe.

He hopes that the new Lammily doll is a step in the right direction.

Whether we want to talk about it or not, boys have self-esteem issues too.

"Many men are unable to achieve the cultural body ideal due to genetics or other factors, and they feel less worthy as a result," said Jennifer Carter, a psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center who specializes in sports psychology and eating disorders for both men and women.

"It is well documented that boys and men have increasing negative body image, and those negative thoughts and feelings about themselves can affect self-esteem."

However, Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child and family psychotherapist and author of "The Self-Aware Parent," pointed out that while "boys experience negative self esteem about their appearance ... the focus is less important for males than females." She noted that men "face different challenges including endowment with sports and athletic prowess, earning power, and the kind of car they drive."

The question is, will the new dolls make a difference?

While Walfish is a little more reserved in her optimism — "boys do not gravitate toward doll play with the same frequency and urgency as girls," she noted — Carter felt good about the dolls. "I think introducing a variety of body sizes that accurately reflect real bodies for both genders has great potential to positively influence body image and self-esteem," she said.

Lamm launched the crowd funding just two days ago and is over one-third of the way to his goal, so it's safe to say that people are ready for this! If you'd like to support the campaign or pre-order a doll, you can do so by visiting his site.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."