Real-World ‘Barbie’ Now Comes With Scars, Stretch Marks, and Cellulite

Meanwhile, Mattel comes under fire for a sexist move.
(Photo: Nickolay Lamm)
Nov 19, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

Here's something you don't read very often: It's been a tough week for Barbie.

First, Nickolay Lamm, the artist who brought us "normal Barbie," continued his quest to provide kids with a doll that presents realistic female body proportions. The news comes as Twitter went ballistic over a storybook released by Mattel as a companion item to its official "computer engineer" Barbie, which some viewed as sexist.

Lamm earlier this year released Lammily and has just launched an add-on sticker pack for normal Barbie, which includes freckles, scars, and stretch marks (as well as tattoos). The idea is to expose young people to flaws and changes that women's bodies might go through over different stages of life.

(Photo: Nickolay Lamm)
(Photo: Nickolay Lamm)
(Photo: Nickolay Lamm)

"I feel like they make the doll more relatable," said Lamm. "It's not perfect, just like us."

Feminists have lauded Lamm's project from the beginning, and children have responded positively to the doll as well. In a video filmed at a school in Pittsburgh, Pa., second graders are asked to describe Lammily. One kid said, "She looks like my sister." Another stated, "She looks like she would help someone if they were hurt."

Meanwhile, Mattel has made headlines as well—and if there's no such thing as bad PR, the company should be stoked.

The toy maker has drawn criticism for a companion paperback to computer engineer Barbie. The book, titled I Can Be a Computer Engineer, features a questionable story line that bothered a lot of people:

Kathleen Tuite, a Santa Cruz, Calif.–based independent tech consultant, took notice. She made an app that lets users rewrite captions for the book's images and post them on Twitter with the hashtag #FeministHackerBarbie:

Tuite created the app after a friend, another female programmer, put out a call for a collaborative response to Mattel's misstep.

"The Barbie book promotes some truly awful ideas, the most sexist of which is that she needs boys to do the programming for her, and then she goes and takes all the credit!" said Tuite. "But by crowdsourcing new captions, we get to see Barbie experiencing the joys and frustrations that actually plague us as programmers and engineers."