I remember trying to reconcile my growing body with the perfect Barbie dolls I begged my parents for every time we were in a box store. I remember lying awake at night, maybe 9 years old, and instead of fantasizing about ruling a kingdom or being able to fly, I was praying for my body to contort into the frame of one of my dolls. I prayed, not for a pony or for new friends, but for a plastic surgeon fairy (yes, that’s actually what I called her!) to visit me in the middle of the night, wave her wand like a scalpel over my flaws and transform me into something acceptable.
At 8 years old, I had proclaimed to my friends on the monkey bars that I was going to go on a diet. I laid in bed, still in total darkness, imagining fireflies mapping glow in the dark surgeon’s plans on my body, praying that I would wake up with big breasts, small hips, long legs and a perfect caterpillar waist. There was no “freelance writer” Barbie, or “independent business owner” Barbie. I never owned a “doctor” Barbie and I never held a Barbie that was a different colour than me (except for my purple fairy Barbies).
As a millennial navigating adulthood, I look back on these aspects of my life and fear for the lives of my future children. Will my daughters lie awake at night fearing the same things? Will they scan the aisles at the department store, not seeing any doll that resembles them, any toys they can relate to?
With Lammily, a doll designed by Nickolay Lamm using the average proportions of a 19 year old woman, maybe my children won’t have the same night-terrors about body image. The doll, which was crowd-funded by over 13K backers earlier this year, retails for $25.00. Unlike Barbie or other traditional dolls, Lammily’s elbows and knees bend to show activity and remove the ‘unmoving object’ feel that dolls have. It’s not stick thin, but of average build and with brown hair.
The coolest feature of the doll is the new addition of “Lammily marks,” which are adhesive cellulite, stretch marks, freckles, acne, glasses, blushing, adhesive bandages, moles, temporary tattoo, stitches, scrapes & scratches, bruises, cast, scars, mosquito bites, grass and dirt stains. Lammily marks turn your doll into someone like you, instead of something perfect that gurls strive to look like. The doll comes with shorts and a button-up chambray shirt, but you can purchase additional outfits, ranging from 12.00-17.00, each themed by country, which presents a fantastic learning opportunity!
Lammily has been around for less than a year. The company can only expand from here, and for a doll that is a step up from Barbie but with miles to go in terms of diversity, all we can do is wait and hope that by the time our daughters are old enough to play with dolls they will be able to embrace everything from skin colour, to occupation to disabilities. The Lammily website has looked into this as well: “In 2015, we’re hoping to extend the line to embrace diversity. From race to body type, we want this doll to be true to you!”
Here’s to a doll that gives us hope that the next generation won’t lie in bed agonizing over stretch marks and pimples – dreaming about liposuction. Here’s to a doll that can maybe help us teach our daughters to love themselves.