Barbie never claimed to be a symbol of feminist solidarity, or even a symbol of reality.
It’s already been proven that her oddly proportioned body couldn’t possibly be sustained by an actual human being—and yet her appearance remains an iconic symbol of femininity that millions of girls admire.
That may not change any time soon, but some artists are doing their best to demonstrate that realistic images can be just as desirable as ones based on pure fantasy.
Artist Nickolay Lamm recently decided to give Barbie the ultimate makeover by changing her appearance into one that resembled an actual human being.
Using CDC measurements of the average American 19-year-old woman, Lamm redesigned and 3-D printed America’s most iconic doll.
The new Barbie is noticeably shorter and wider than her earlier version, and even her feet have evolved from miniatures frozen in a high-heel position to a proportioned pair that can stand on flat ground.
In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, the artist explained, “If we criticize skinny models, we should at least be open to the possibility that Barbie may negatively influence young girls as well,” he said. “If there’s even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks good as an average-sized woman in America, what’s stopping Mattel from making one?”
That’s a fair question and it seems that now is the perfect time to ask; the toy market is evolving—slowly, but it’s happening. If an engineering toy made for girls and an Easy Bake Oven made for boys are marketable options now, why not a Barbie that expresses her femininity in a way that’s realistic and attainable, instead of artificial and impossible?