As a kid I wasn’t into dolls and later I had two sons, so I’m clearly not the expert on Barbie or how this 11 ½ inch doll influences girls’ body image and sense of what’s important. But I’ve heard enough mothers talking about their 3, 5, 7 and 8 year old daughters’ fascination with being just like Barbie, using lipstick, having pretty clothes and lots of stuff, that I do wonder if Barbie and all the other gender-specific modeling we provide our daughters with gives mixed messages when contrasted with parents’ encouragement to study hard because you can be anything.
Nicolay Lamm has reimagined Barbie using what the CDC tells us is a typical 19 year olds’ body. He’s proposing that Barbie gets a new look, based on normal body measurements. She’s still blonde with sparkling blue eyes, but this version looks less like a Vegas showgirl and more like the girl next door. You can imagine her as a cheerleader, but also as the school’s soccer star, classical pianist, math whiz, valedictorian… or just the nice girl who sits in the next row in class. And those sturdier ankles and feet will come in handy in a few years when she’s pleading a case to the jury.