Realistic Looking Barbie Doll

By: Ali Ingersoll Email
By: Ali Ingersoll Email

One classic doll, who helped and inspired millions of girls with thousands of clothes and hundreds of careers, could soon undergo an extreme makeover.

The doll we're talking about... Barbie. She comes in a variety of different styles ranging from floral designer Barbie to election 2012 Barbie. The maker of the "all-American" girl, Mattel, says they hope young girls see themselves in Barbie and are proud.

One man, Nicholay Lamm, disagrees though. He created a prototype of a new kind of doll using measurement the Center for Disease Control lists for an average, healthy, 19-year-old American female.

Psychologist Shannon Schaefer says the new doll is a stepping stone to begin to change future generations' perspectives on beauty.

"We know that kids development is heavily shaped in their play and the toys that they use in their play," said Schaefer. "And we know that repeated exposure to unhealthy images can lead to a wide variety of mental health symptoms."

According to Schaefer, those symptoms can include anxiety, depression and body image issues. Through her work, Schaefer says she see a link between Barbie dolls and eating disorders.

"Researchers suggest that the old Barbie would not be able to survive based on her proportions and so repeated exposure to that is very detrimental to again both girls and boys," she said. "But for girls, it's this sense that 'I'll never be able to measure up but I might try and I might try by dieting in unhealthy ways'."

Lamm recreation isn't on the shelves yet but it is already creating some buzz.

Nicole Guthrie, a teacher at Headstart, agrees with his decision to make a new doll.

"I love the concept; I love the idea," Guthrie said. "I mean, children now-a-days have that self esteem and that body awareness and that runs through teenage and adult life. I think this is a great way. I mean, little girls are playing with these dolls, and it's excellent"

Some people, like David Enklam, remains loyal to the original version. Although he didn't elaborate more, his wife, Judy, thought she knew the reason.

"Because men like the figure," Judy said, laughing.

Even if there are some differing opinions, Schaefer is just excited the doll is getting people talking.

"In families where there might be some members saying, 'I really like this one better than that doll', perhaps that can generate a conversation about really what is healthy and open up that door for girls and boys and their parents."


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