Yesterday, the anti-Barbie doll won the Internet. Artist Nickolay Lamm is coming out with a $25 doll that has real-life proportioned hips, thighs, and butt, in time for the holidays. Available in January (and sold separately): a 38-piece set of reusable vinyl stick-ons including acne, cellulite, moles, scars, stitches, and mosquito bites.
The buzz online was mostly positive. As The Huffington Post noted, "Getting kids used to the idea that these things are completely normal and not 'flaws' to be ashamed of can only be a good thing." Popular mom blogger Corine Ingrassia tweeted, "These Lammily dolls make me ridiculously happy for little girls!"
Dolls: now with stretch marks! (Photo: Lammily.com)
I'm in. I can still recall when my daughter turned to me at age 3 and asked, as she held her Barbie, "Why doesn't my belly look like that?" One oft-cited study published in Developmental Psychology found that early exposure to dolls that epitomize a thin body ideal can damage girls' body image.
Still, there's something glaringly missing from all the yay-normal-Barbie conversation: A real-life Ken doll. What are we teaching our children if the only dolls in their lives with lumps and bumps and warts and all are girls?
Over the years, it's mainly Barbie who's gotten flack for being too perfect. Ken has gone relatively unscathed, despite the fact that he is also way too…plastic. Both dolls have bigger-than-average chests, smaller-than-normal waistlines, smooth skin, and general manufactured gorgeousness. They are both guilty of giving children unrealistic expectations about bodies.
Months ago, Lamm mentioned on his website that he wants his line to include males. Today.com reports that it would be a "normal-proportioned" boy doll. One can only hope that normal Ken will also have an optional accessories kit with acne and other stick-on marks. And, hey, what about back hair, shoulder tufts, man boobs, a beer belly, a male-pattern-baldness headpiece, and scratchy-long toenails?
That would be a beautiful thing.