Move Over Barbie, Lammily Is a Hit

Nickolay LammBarely more than a year ago, Pittsburgh artist Nickolay Lamm conceived a doll that he called “Average Barbie.” Now, just in time for the holiday season, his idea is a reality. He’s shipping the Lammily™ doll to more than 13,000 backers who helped him raise more than half a million dollars through online crowdfunding early this year.

When he started taking online orders last week, the demand so far exceeded expectations that the website crashed from all the traffic. Within two days, he had orders for more than 25,000 dolls.

Lamm is taking this success in stride because he knows he’s tapping into something that’s important. He says:

Lammily’s instant popularity was largely driven by a concern for body image. I believe this issue is of great magnitude. I myself have lived through my share of insecurities. Back in high school, I starved myself and exercised to exhaustion to have a set of six-pack abs. After achieving my desired BMI, I looked and felt terrible. This experience taught me to keep things in perspective. Every one of our bodies is different, so we should not be aspiring to some idealized standard.

Meanwhile Barbie’s maker, Mattel,  is getting bad press for their failed attempt to turn her into a computer engineer. Mattel had to apologize and recall Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer after a storm of criticism. The book depicted poor Barbie as unable to complete her work without help from guys — she couldn’t even restart her own computer. It’s tough being singled out as role model.

One-size-fits-all ideals are grossly overrated.

“Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest.” — Ed Koch

Click here to learn more about Lammily and order one yourself. Click here and here to read some of the press for Lammily. Click here for more about Barbie’s computer engineering misadventure.

Barbie and Lammily, photographs © Nickolay Lamm / flickr

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