It wasn’t until I was in high school that someone told me that, if Barbie were real, she wouldn’t even be able to stand up because her body is so disproportionate. Unfortunately, this realization came to me far later than it should have; her cinched waist, ample bosom and blonde tresses already had me feeling inadequate in my new womanhood. Even though I never really enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls, I was still familiar with the fact that her looks were something to strive for, and I was painfully aware that they were not looks I possessed.
Thankfully, artist Nickolay Lamm has created a Barbie that shows us what the doll might look like if she were based on the proportions of “normal” women. And guess what? She’s beautiful! But you know what would be even more beautiful? If we ditched the word “normal” when referring to women and embraced women of all kinds.
Even though Lamm’s Barbie is a step in the right direction, here are five more that we’d love to see.
Barbies of Color (For Real)
Sadly, many women around the world still feel that stereotypically “white” features are the best features. The days when kids were shown a white doll and a black doll and asked which was more pretty (they picked the white doll most often) may seem far away, but Barbie still shapes the way we see beauty in many ways besides just measurements. Having Barbies of color would be a wonderful addition to this lineup — Barbies whose features actually reflect those of different races rather than just changing her clothing and skin, eye and hair color.
Barbie has always been an able-bodied woman, which means that she does not reflect women with physical disabilities. Women who have such disabilities are beautiful, too, and it would be heartwarming to see a Barbie who has a disability. This would go a long way towards de-marginalizing women with disabilities.
Religious Freedom Barbie
Though we cannot speak to Barbie’s religion, the fact that she has white wedding gown accessories, and that I used to play with her and wedding-Ken at a chapel when I was a child, I’m assuming that she is Christian. Most often in Western countries, Judeo-Christian culture is seen as the norm, when that is not the case. America was built on religious freedom, so seeing Barbies of different religions would show that Barbie supports you, no matter your faith.
The world has been begging for more plus-sized models for quite some time, so why not a plus-sized Barbie? Lamm’s Barbie might have “normal” proportions, but that doesn’t mean she reflects the way most women look. When women see plus-sized models in catalogues and magazines, we are filled with joy at the sense that someone out there understands that very few women are stick-thin like most models we see (and most of them are airbrushed). A plus-sized Barbie would have the same effect as plus-sized models.
Though I’m not sure how this would look since those who identify as LGBTQ are not discernible by their outward appearance, it would be great to see a Barbie who identifies somewhere on this spectrum. As stated above, since Barbie and Ken have pretty much always been together, and since they do come with wedding accessories, it would be wonderful to see a Barbie doll who doesn’t identify as straight and dis-gendered. Maybe that’s as easy as pairing her with another woman rather than Ken, or making her an LGBTQ-ally. Either way, I’d love to see it.
Photo Credit: Nickolay Lamm (with permission)