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They gave each kid a Barbie and a doll with real proportions. What they say next really says it all.

Barbie's supposed to be the "all-American girl" with the amazing wardrobe, perfect boyfriend, a million careers, and the dream house every girl wants. But when you compare her to the average American woman, things don't quite measure up. So an artist decided to create a doll modeled after the average American teenager, and the results are pretty amazing.

They gave each kid a Barbie and a doll with real proportions. What they say next really says it all.

What's wrong with Barbie?

Well, for one thing, her body dimensions are completely unrealistic. For a school project on eating disorders, college student Galia Slayen took Barbie's measurements and created a life-size version that is disturbing to say the least.


Barbie's unnatural body dimensions inspired Nickolay Lamm.

Artist Nickolay Lamm had the idea to create a new doll based on the dimensions of the average American teenager. He hoped that by creating a toy with a more realistic body type, it might help make kids feel better about themselves.

He took his concept for Lammily, the "average" doll, to Kickstarter in March 2014 to crowdfund the idea. The project quickly went viral, raising over $100,000 in just a few days. In November 2014, Nickolay took one of the first finished Lammily dolls to a local elementary school to see what children would think of her in comparison to the traditional Barbie doll.

What did second-graders have to say about Lammily?

Then the kids were asked a series of questions about Lammily and Barbie.

"Which doll looks most like you?"

"What job would Lammily have?"

"What job would Barbie have?"

Pretty powerful stuff right? For me, the way they answered the jobs question really stood out to me. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think conventionally beautiful or thin women aren't smart or deserve to be judged on their looks. But these children's comments are symptomatic of the messages our society perpetuates about beauty, intelligence, and body image. And that's precisely the problem.

This just goes to show that it's so important that kids have a variety of diverse and realistic representations of people in order to develop healthy body image and self esteem. That's why it's so awesome that a doll like Lammily exists. I can only hope other toy makers will take note and we'll see more diverse and realistic dolls for our kids to play with in the near future!

Take a look at what the other second-graders had to say about Lammily along with a special behind-the-scenes Lammily photo shoot below. And if you think kids deserve more realistic dolls like Lammilly, consider sharing this post!

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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One little girl took pictures of her school lunches. The Internet responded — and so did the school.

If you listened to traditional news media (and sometimes social media), you'd begin to think the Internet and technology are bad for kids. Or kids are bad for technology. Here's a fascinating alternative idea.

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Norton

This article originally appeared on 03.31.15

Kids can innovate, create, and imagine in ways that are fresh and inspiring — when we "allow" them to do so, anyway. Despite the tendency for parents to freak out because their kids are spending more and more time with technology in schools, and the tendency for schools themselves to set extremely restrictive limits on the usage of such technology, there's a solid argument for letting them be free to imagine and then make it happen.

It's not a stretch to say the kids in this video are on the cutting edge. Some of the results he talks about in the video at the bottom are quite impressive.

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