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.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

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The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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