# For sale: Barbie, never played with

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

### 92 Responses

1. Saul Degraw says:

Congrats and good luck.

Some female friends were posting pictures of Lamily over the Holidays on FB. Some had kids/daughters. Others did not. I mainly mocked the doll because it came dressed in a Canadian Tuxedo.Report

2. James K says:

For a normally-distributed variable, about 34% will be within 1 standard deviation of the mean in each direction, so more than 40% are within one standard deviation of the mean.

You are right though that this breaks down when you consider multiple independent variables.Report

• Vikram Bath in reply to James K says:

I thought this might come up. I hadn’t expected it’d be in the second comment!

What I was trying to say was…
About 19% of the observations for a variable with a normal distribution will be above the mean but below 0.5 of a standard deviation above the mean.
About 19% of the observations for a variable with a normal distribution will be below the mean but above 0.5 of a standard deviation below the mean.

Or combining the two together, about 38% of the observations will lie between half a standard deviation below and half a standard deviation above the mean.

Of course, you are right that more like 68% will be within 1 standard deviation above the mean and 1 standard deviation below the mean. That works out to a 2-standard deviation interval though, rather than a one standard deviation interval.

Given that the subject is body dimensions, I’d suggest that people who are insecure about this kind of thing are highly sensitive to very small differences. A girl who is one standard deviation below on some dimension might not see her a girl who is one standard deviation above as her peer with respect to that variable.

Um, assuming they define their peers by body dimensions, which would be horribly sad.Report

• Kimmi in reply to Vikram Bath says:

Vik,
assuming one only got Lammily as their introduction to “what people are like” is weird, in the first place.

Trying to say that we shouldn’t have attainable standards of beauty is … kinda hurtful, ya know? I mean, yeah, maybe when Lammily is TWO years old, not one, they’ll launch another few models.Report

3. LeeEsq says:

Congratulations.

Toys and games seem to be a major and perpetual stumping ground for various gender issues. There is something darkly amusing about this.

The idea that a doll that represents a realistic standard of feminine beauty could be more potentially damaging than an unrealistic ideal is an interesting one. It makes intuitive sense but I’m not sure if it holds up to reality well.Report

4. kenB says:

In case you haven’t seen it already, here’s Virginia Postrel’s take on Lammily.Report

• Vikram Bath in reply to kenB says:

Well, fish. That’s a better piece in just about every way.Report

• LeeEsq in reply to Vikram Bath says:

Writing from experience helps. A woman writing about Barbie and Lammily will speak about the issue with more urgency than a man who does not have first hand experience with these things.Report

• A worthwhile lesson to demonstrate, but I kind of wish it was demonstrated on someone else or at least not quite so clearly. 🙂Report

• kenB in reply to Vikram Bath says:

It’s not a competition — I enjoyed your post too. Plus, yours included the special bonus New Kid announcement (I bet Postrel got way fewer congratulations in response to her article).

Speaking of which, congrats!Report

5. LeeEsq says:

Lamilly’s outfit also seems rather fanservicy in a Lara Croft way for a politically correct Barbie Doll. Barbie might have her faults but most heterosexual men don’t fantasize about women in fancy dress these days.Report

• Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

Oh? Strippers still wear high heels, don’t they?Report

6. Chris says:

Congratulations.Report

7. Glyph says:

Congrats!Report

8. Citizen says:

Congratulations.Report

Crap like this is why we get stuff like this for the little girls we know. Last time we visited, we all had to get a check up from Dr. Lena (who is two).Report

The insurance companies are getting too cheap if they are sending people to see medical students.Report

Possibly, but she was delightful, and just too cute.Report

10. Kazzy says:

You’re welcome: http://www.uglydolls.com/Report

11. Kazzy says:

My problem with most human-like role-playing toys is that they are overly prescriptive in nature. They tell the kid what to play rather than serving as a canvas onto which a child can project his/her own ideas for play. While toys for younger children (< 3 though possibly well into the 4th year) need to be prescriptive to an extent — until kids understand symbolic representation, they are limited in their ability to 'pretend' — they need not dictate to the child every step of the narrative. I don't know anything about Lammily but from what I know about Barbies, they are almost entirely prescribed. Dr. Barbie is a doctor; Farmer Barbie is a farmer; Lawyer Barbie is a lawyer. If Lammily follows that model, than that is yet another strike against her as a play toy for a young child.

Classic baby dolls (especially those which can have their clothing changed and do not include any 'actions'), stuffed animals, and block accessories are the ones I think are best. They provide enough structure that the child does not have to create the entire narrative whole cloth but are open-ended enough that the child can still dictate a variety of play scenarios.Report

• dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

In my experience, within about 24 hours of receipt by the kid, farmer, doctor, fancy dress wearer, other fancy dress wearer, how many fancy dresses do you need, etc. dolls are all nude.Report

• LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

I’m hoping that they make Leaper Barbie someday. Too many toys for girls feature princesses. We should introduce them to other facets of medieval life. We can have Serf Barbie, Leaper Barbie, Nun Barbie, and Ghetto Jew Barbie. Lammily could compete by producing a CatharReport

• Kolohe in reply to dragonfrog says:

Make sure Scott Bakula gets his royalty payments, and I’m sure he’s in as the figurine model.Report

• Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy says:

One thing I’ve noticed through shopping (and in particular looking at what appeals to my wife) is that almost everything for sale for kids is meant to appeal to adults and adult desires. I don’t mean that it’s stuff that adults would like. I mean its stuff that adults would think kids would like.

Finding open-ended things to play with like Play-doh in the toy store is way harder than I had thought it would be. I mean, it’s positioned poorly. Realistic stuff, on the other hand, is positioned and packaged wonderfully. It captures my imagination as an adult imagining what a kid would want. Play-doh, on the other hand, is a tiny, 50 cent plastic can. If I didn’t remember it being a thing, there’s no way I would have bought it.

The one exception, I’d say are blocks. Legos are available and well-positioned. But even Legos are becoming more and more prescriptive. Most are sold as themed packages, not as an open-ended assortment of blocks. You *can* buy just a collection of open-ended Lego blocks, but again those are the least-appealingly positioned and least-appealingly packaged.Report

• LeeEsq in reply to Vikram Bath says:

My guess would be that prescriptive toys are becoming more common because companies can make more money selling them. Playdo is cheap and has myriad of uses. You only need to get new playdo on occasion. The same goes for old-fashioned lego blocks. The new themed legos allow you to sell more units at higher prices.

Incidentally, it used to drive my mom batty that Saul and I would wouldn’t follow lego instructions but would just play with them. She thought it represented a lack of discipline.Report

@leeesq

LOL! My mom, being the free love hippie type, would get upset when I didn’t take the pre-packaged models apart, fearing a lack of creativity.Report

• LeeEsq in reply to Vikram Bath says:

My parents weren’t hippies but they weren’t high-pressured Tiger parents either. They new Saul and I were smart, they just thought we lacked the dilligent habits and drive of lots of other kids we went to school with.Report

• Jim Heffman in reply to Vikram Bath says:

And what’s with all those different kinds of toothpaste, man? I mean, how am I supposed to choose just one? Maybe, like, “freedom” is just another kind of slavery!Report

• dragonfrog in reply to Vikram Bath says:

The recent specialized sets I’ve seen – my daughter’s and what I’ve noticed of her friends’ – are pretty sparse in what they can make on their own. For example, her “ranch” set on its own won’t actually make a barn or ranch house the minifigs can be in or out of, just the facade. There aren’t enough bricks to make four full walls. It does though provide somewhat specialized things that an entirely open-ended bucket-o-bricks doesn’t, like a horse that’s set up for minifigs to ride on, garden tools, hinged doors, flowers, etc.

To build what I would have wanted as a kid – a sensibly sized building that fully encloses its interior space, and also looks kind of good – you’d need both a themed set and a bucket-o-bricks set.

One thing that’s interesting to me is an apparent gender flip since I was playing with them, circa mid-to-late-80s. I get the impression that Lego was advertised mostly to boys by then, but with sets that were fairly broad in theme – planes, trains, automobiles, boats, spaceships, hospitals, shops, restaurants, castles, labs, the whole bit – and any “girls” sets were disastrously narrow in focus.

Now, the “boys” sets focus almost exclusively on violence. If a set is supposed to be any thing or place not centered on violence – a farm, a concert hall, a barber shop, a house, a hotel, any boat without deck guns – it will be in the “Lego Friends” series, and clearly marketed at girls.Report

• Saul Degraw in reply to Vikram Bath says:

@leeesq

I don’t remember that…..Report

• Mike Schilling in reply to Vikram Bath says:

Goods are designed to appeal to the person who’ll actually decide whether to buy them? Are you sure?Report

• Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath says:

Toy stores are for amateurs. Go to teacher supply websites. I’m partial to Discount School Supply. Lots of open-ended sets at really good prices.Report

• Kimmi in reply to Vikram Bath says:

Vik,
That’s because kids are like cats. Give them a big enough box, and they’ve got a toy they’ll love forever.Report

• Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy says:

@kazzy

In your experience, how often do children “cooperate” with those prescriptions?Report

• Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

@gabriel-conroy

Depends on the age of the kid and the particular material. My son is 21-months and he will use his toy phone as a toy phone and nothing else. But that is because he has seen us use real phones. So he has had the proper play “modeled” for him and he employs it. This isn’t a bad thing mind you. He is not yet at the point where he can substitute in a rectangular block for a phone. That requires symbolic thought — essentially the ability to sub in one thing for another — that is developmentally beyond him at this age. A phone is a phone, a block is a block, a stuffed kitty is a stuffed kitty. Now, that won’t stop him from throwing a block or the phone or the kitty as if it were a ball but that is not the same thing as pretending it is a ball.

Now, if I gave him a doctor kit, he’d be unfamiliar with what it ‘is’ and either project onto it that which is familiar for him (e.g., he uses a TV remote like a phone but that is because they look similar enough as to be the same thing to him) or simply use it haphazardly. But he uses the pots and pans and dishes and knives/forks/spoons more or less as they are designed to be use because, again, he is familiar with that routine.

Older kids can follow more complex prescriptions, again, if they are familiar. By the time they hit 4 (sometimes earlier, sometimes later), they can start to move beyond prescriptions. One of my students likes to pretend his rest mat is a police car and he ‘drives’ it to his rest spot, making siren noises en route. The mat looks nothing like a police car. He has simply ascribed that meaning to it.

Am I making sense?Report

• @kazzy

Thanks for your answer, but I meant my question to be along slightly different lines. In the original comment I posted the question to, you seemed to suggest that toys with a lot of prescriptive use are bad for children of a certain age, or at least bad if that’s all they are asked to play with.

And the purpose of my question was more to ask whether kids get creative on their own, even when there is a relatively more rigidly prescribed narrative. For example, maybe a kid gets a Barbie the Doctor toy, but then creates a story in which she (Barbie, MD) loses her medical license for gross incompetence and decides to join the French foreign legion, whereupon she’s instrumental in saving the world from a Jawa attack.Report

• Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

@gabriel-conroy

Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha.

That will depend on a number of factors. Short answer, yes: upon reaching a certain stage of development, children can substitute in their own narrative.

Long answer, it depends: a number of factors will go into any individual’s ability to deviate from prescription. I can’t cite hard research, but my experience tells me that factors both internal (i.e., ‘nature’) and external (i.e., ‘nurture’) play a role to varying degrees from case to case plus the intensity of the ‘prescription’ matters. Think of adult consumers of fictional works with clearly defined canon: some have no qualms with a deviation from the canon while others hold steadfastly to it. Some kids will decide that Dr. Barbie is really a Cold War-era spy who uses her good looks and faux medical degree to gain the trust of the Russians. Others will have Dr. Barbie be a doctor and nothing else BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT DR. BARBIE DOES!Report

• Thanks, Kazzy, for offering your perspective.Report

12. Burt Likko says:

The Likko family joins the chorus of congratulations being served upon the Bath family!

Something else that is not particularly average about Lammily is that, like Barbie, she is white. If a doll is a way that little girls get taught what “pretty” is, then a white doll teaches that white girls are pretty and thus by implication that only white girls are pretty. The Barbie folks have at least addressed this, as there are many racial varieties of Barbie, or at least Barbie has friends who are not white and blonde. Does Lammily come in various shades of brown? Or is that too much to ask from a startup?

Also. Kids love dinosaurs, boys and girls alike. Dinosaur toys are the bomb.Report

• LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko says:

We can take care of the toy problem by mandating tax-subsidized dinosaur toys for all children. I always preferred the watery reptiles like the icthiosaurus (spelling) myself.Report

• Notme in reply to LeeEsq says:

I thought obama was offering toys along with all the other vote buying freebies he wants the govt to provide.Report

• James Hanley in reply to LeeEsq says:

Pretty weak, @notme. That one sounds like what one liberal says to another liberal when he’s pretending to sound like a conservative. Your snark game’s slipping.Report

Poe’s LawReport

• NoPublic in reply to LeeEsq says:

Ichthyosaurus Is not a dinosaurReport

• Vikram Bath in reply to Burt Likko says:

I think others have also observed about the fact that Lammily is white before. I think the creator said she had plans for other versions downstream. Of course, even then race isn’t the only way people differ. I think you can get a Barbie in a wheelchair.

In general, I think this whole thing is a sad little competition though. I understand the objection to having only white dolls, but I don’t empathize with the sentiment that I need a race X, abilities Y, dimensions Z doll to bring home to my X, Y, and Z daughter.

Why should little girls play with dolls of their same race or species? The very first thing I bought for her was a husky puppy in the naive hope that we can explain that one will be waiting for her at home and that is OK.

Now, if I could do that with a dinosaur too…Report

• aaron david in reply to Vikram Bath says:

@vikram-bath
I believe that Barbie in a wheelchair is Becky.

And congrats! You’ll love being a dad!Report

• Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath says:

@vikram-bath

There is research that shows great benefits to children having access to toys and materials that “look like them”, particularly for children of color.

Unfortunately, children of color sometimes eschew dolls of color because they’ve already internalized negative stereotypes about them (Google the 1950’s doll study and the recent quasi-redo of it if you want to be depressed the rest of the day).

I wouldn’t force it on her, but having it available to her is important.

This is something white parents not to have to think about because the default is so often white. I don’t have to actively look for books or shows or toys that look like Mayo; they exist in abundance and dominate the culture.

This is one of those aspects of white privilege that is best solved by extending the privilege to everyone. And while, mathematically, you can’t have every group be the majority representation, you can have all people sufficiently represented (and represented well/accurately!) that you don’t leave anyone overly burdened with the search.Report

• Kimmi in reply to Burt Likko says:

Burt,
no it’s not too much to ask. But ask for it NEXT YEAR.Report

13. dragonfrog says:

14. veronica d says:

Congrats.

Myself, I’d hand her the Barbie and see if she likes it. Show her other toys also and see if she likes them. Maybe she’ll want to play with toy tractors or something. Whatever.

As she grows up, explain to her how this gender shit works and how society expects things that are maybe not healthy, but can be sometimes — it depends — but how she can also be different from society’s standards if she wants.

I played with Barbies when I was young, which, actually, for me was downright transgressive! 🙂Report

15. Tod Kelly says:

Personally, I’m with you on the human-like role-playing dolls. My parents gave me a GI Joe back in the day, and it mostly sat in my closet. And I kind of agree with you on Lammily, but I feel like there’s this one bit that is really, really important:

Assuming that *any* doll is going to look different from most kids, giving a little girl an “average-looking” doll designed by (I assume?) adult women with the intended message of “regular women’s bodies are really okay” strikes me as being infinitely better than giving a little girl a highly improbable and highly sexualized doll designed by adult men with an intended message of, “this is what you’re supposed to look like.”Report

• aaron david in reply to Tod Kelly says:

@tod-kelly
“girl a highly improbable and highly sexualized doll designed by adult men with an intended message of, “this is what you’re supposed to look like.””

You do know that Barbie was invented by a woman, right? Ruth Handler.Report

• James Hanley in reply to aaron david says:

And Lammily seems to have been designed by a man.

• Tod Kelly in reply to aaron david says:

I did not know that!Report

• Alan Scott in reply to aaron david says:

One important aspect of Barbie’s creation that tends to go unnoticed is that Handler developed the doll in response to a specific habit of play she observed: Her daughter Barbara was using baby dolls and paper dolls to play-act scenarios featuring adults. Barbie was invented as a way to provide a doll that was better suited for that style of play.

My major worry when I see Barbie hate is that attacks on Barbie end up being attacks on the kind of social role-playing that children perform when they play with such dolls. When critics suggest that girls put down Barbies and take up Legos*, that really reads to me that girls should stop caring about social play and only focus on physical play. At least with this lammily doll, the social role-play continues to be the focus of the toy rather than the target of the attack

*I get that the critics are angered that one style of play is marketed entirely towards girls and the other is marketed entirely towards boys, and that’s a very valid concern. But when the proposed solutions focus only on girls’ lack of physical play, without accompanying that with a prescription that boys should play with dolls more, it’s hard to not simply see that as elevating “boy play” above “girl play” in ways that will simply make the effects of that divide worse.Report

• LeeEsq in reply to aaron david says:

@tod-kelly, Barbie and Ken were also named after her children, Barbara and Kenneth. Ruth Handler was inspired to create Barbie after she noticed that her daughter preferred playing with paper dolls that could fulfill adult rolls than the more common infant dolls at the time.

• Kazzy in reply to aaron david says:

@alan-scott

Great point. Whether it be because of nature or nurture, young girls *tend* to be drawn more towards narrative-based play scenarios. This is the theory upon which GoldieBlocks was born: create a building set that tells a story. Doll play and other forms of role playing are important and valuable for all children. We just need to give them better dolls than Barbie.Report

• Notme in reply to aaron david says:

Ms. Handler must have been one of those self loathing women .Report

16. Rufus F. says:

I’d be more worried that my son would look at Ken and develop an unrealistic fear of his genitals falling off later in life.Report

17. Notme says:

18. Murali says:

Congrats man.Report

Congrats! Your life will be forever changed in a very cool and interesting way. (And “Daddy” is very cool to hear from a little person.)Report

20. Mike Schilling says:

Congratulations! I wish you much joy.Report

21. North says:

Just give em a stick. Hard to get a complex from a stick.Report

• zic in reply to North says:

And a refrigerator box to keep it in.Report

• LeeEsq in reply to North says:

Check your privilege, North. Giving children a stick is mocking paleolitic and neolitic cultures that did not have much in toy making technology.Report

• Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

Neolithic cultures are so much more authentic than our plastic culture, though!

Which is why it’s important to me that other people’s kids enjoy Neolithic culture.Report

• Kimmi in reply to North says:

Playing doctor with a stick is likely to give kids a complex…Report

22. As a kid, I always hated all human-like role-playing toys, and I have every hope to nurture such animosity in the littlest Bath.

I supposed, then, you wouldn’t be interested in my new line of Ordinary Times action figures?Report

• But seriously, congratulations on the new developments!Report

• Glyph in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

@gabriel-conroy About those action figures – I want to lodge a complaint about a couple pieces from your “Villains” line.

Straw Man did not hold up at all, and The Scotsman doesn’t even appear to be Scottish!Report

• kenB in reply to Glyph says:

This is awesome — we should have a whole thread devoted to OT action figures and accessories. I can totally imagine playing with the BSDI Twins in the Motte and Bailey arena.Report

• Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

I know the girl who is the heir to the Russ Berry company… the one who makes Troll dolls. Should I give her a buzz?Report

• Gabriel Conroy in reply to Glyph says:

@glyph @kazzy @kenb

Thanks for that. I just got home and read these. I laughed out loud.Report

23. zic says:

Awesome of the daughter to the family!

Now I’m going to be a bit contrary; and I do so as a woman who doesn’t wear makeup, doesn’t own a house-hold scale so I only have a notion of how much I weigh from the annual visit to the doctor’s office, and doesn’t shave her armpits or legs (this last is a matter of physical safety, I have neurological issues with my hands, and it’s not worth the risk of the potential injuries). I don’t have much problem with Barbie or her proportions. I don’t think Barbie will make one iota of dint in the messaging girls get about how they’re supposed to look. There are too many Disney princesses, too many adverts in TV, too many wet-tee shirts on facebook, and too many men who prefer imaginary 20-year-olds to real women their own ages for Barbie to make a difference, other than as a statement of protest. And I think even that statement of protest has some real damage; some women are beautiful, some women want to be beautiful and sexy. Feeling desirable is human, something I think boys and men want as much as women.

So the real issue here isn’t Barbie, it’s that the anti-Barbie is just as restrictive as the Barbie.

I want girls to grow up confident of themselves. I recall a girl I went to high school with; she was teased endless because she was considered ugly; a little bit on the round side, a pig-like nose, mousy hair. She decided one day that she didn’t like it anymore, and began working on her appearance; changing her hair style, wearing clothes that better flattered her figure, a little bit of makeup. And you know what? She was beautiful, but mostly because she thought she was beautiful.

So I’d give the Barbie. I’d also provide chemistry sets, paint and brushes, building blocks, anatomy books, yarn and knitting needles, and a tool box full of basic tools. And I’d spend a lot of time helping that child uncover her own interests and passions; even if it’s clothes and how she looks. Because she might be a super model and nobel-prize winning physicist both.

But all this dissing of Barbie and girlie stuff as less-than-worthy is every bit as bad as dissing someone like me who’s opted out of that for being plain; it’s still judging women for someone else’s eye, not for her own sense of self worth and accomplishment. But there’s nothing in the world remotely wrong with wanting to be beautiful; and as the girl in my high school taught me, beauty isn’t comporting to someone else’s standards, it roots deep inside how you feel about yourself.

Now I’m done being contrary; a quality usually associated with being difficult, and not welcomed in women. Probably more important to allow your daughter her own contrary then not allow her a Barbie.Report

• Johanna in reply to zic says:

I am going to rif of of @zic here on whether or not Barbie matters. I have three daughters who all played extensively with Barbies, loved them and then naturally grew out them as with many of their other toys. The impact on them – negligible. We found the kids liked what they liked regardless of what we gave them. If you spend too much time worrying about the social impact of particular toys, or clothing you may in for a rude awakening. We tried gender neutral clothing and toys with our oldest as a toddler and she balked asking for only pink and dresses and the first time she saw a doll, she gravitated to it more than anything else we had for her. Our friends (a female couple who were also first time-parents) had a son who had no toy weapons in the house. They were adamant about non-violence and were horrified as their toddler enjoyed creating weapons and was more interested in smacking things or play shooting with anything he could find even though they intentionally tried not to expose him to those types of toys or behavior. He found sticks and brooms more interesting than the actual toys he had available.

Just introduce them to as much as possible and try to not be judgmental about what she will like. She will show you her preferences and in the grand scheme of things a toy like Barbie doesn’t matter, supporting her interests and likes will.Report

Our friends (a female couple who were also first time-parents) had a son who had no toy weapons in the house. They were adamant about non-violence and were horrified as their toddler enjoyed creating weapons and was more interested in smacking things or play shooting with anything he could find even though they intentionally tried not to expose him to those types of toys or behavior.

Truth! Despite being one of the gun guys around these parts, I am not exposing Bug to guns/firearms/rayguns/etc. He has never seen mine, and has no idea what the big gray metal box in the garage contains. He doesn’t watch TV where guns are shown or used. His only toy weapon is a foam rubber pirate sword. And yet, he makes guns out of his Bristle Blocks and runs around the house yelling “Pew Pew Pew! I shot you!”.

No idea where he picked that up from…Report

• Kazzy in reply to Johanna says:

You might be interested in the book entitled “We Don’t Play with Guns” here. It is not anti-gunplay in the way the title suggests.Report

• Kazzy in reply to Johanna says:

To slightly elaborate, the title is in reference to a quote often offered in schools. The book questions whether that should be the policy.Report

I think you’ve mentioned it before.

To be clear, I’m not opposed to such play, and I think such play has immense teaching value/opportunity. I just wasn’t expecting to see it before his 3rd birthday.Report

• Kazzy in reply to Johanna says:

Oh yes, I gathered that. I thought you might find it interesting and affirming because of very real research being done that confronts the ‘conventional wisdom’ on the matter.

Is your critter in school? That is likely where he picked it up from.

You should probably sue.Report

He is in pre-school, so that is probably where he picked it up. I’d sue, but I like them, and they are right next to my office, so I’d have to really want to sue if I am going mess that arrangement up.Report

24. trizzlor says:

Congrats to the growing Bath family!

I’m going to be a spoil-sport and push back a bit on the post though. Fundamentally, I think the point of Lammily is not to negate the desire to be like a doll but to change the implications. If child wants to be like Barbie (for the 100% of kids that are dramatically different looking) the way to get there is through starvation, surgery, etc. If a child wants to be like Lammily (for the 60% of kids that are subtly different looking) the way to get there is clearly much less damaging. I think you do some slight of hand when you say “An unattainable standard for beauty can be mocked and discounted“. Once you explain that Barbie would be grotesque in real life, the natural question is why she was made that way. And the honest answer is because it *is* a standard for beauty. The Barbie Dreamhouse and the Barbie Corvette and all the rest clearly present an idealized, desired life. It’s a standard that many men desire their women meet. And it’s a standard that a parent implicitly supports by buying that fantasy for their kid to play with. With Lammily the explanation is much simpler: she was made that way because that’s the average, now let’s talk about normal distributions and variance …Report

• Brandon Berg in reply to trizzlor says:

Once you explain that Barbie would be grotesque in real life, the natural question is why she was made that way. And the honest answer is because it *is* a standard for beauty.

It’s unclear to me how you resolve the contradiction here. Having conceded that an actual woman with Barbie’s proportions would be grotesque, how can you continue to maintain that this is a standard of beauty? If men want women who look like Barbie, why do the models in men’s magazines look more like Lammily (sans the stretch-mark stickers)?Report

• Murali in reply to Brandon Berg says:

And then you get Valeria Lukyanova.Report

• Kimmi in reply to Brandon Berg says:

It’s because it’s not men who want it, it’s women.
Or fashion designers, who are predominantly men.Report

• James Hanley in reply to Brandon Berg says:

Some years back an artist created a life size toy fire truck. That is. he made a full scale fire truck model using the dimensions for doors, mirrors, wheels, etc., as found in a toy fire truck. It turns out the toys aren’t really to scale with a real fire truck, which became evident when seeing the toy at full size.

So there’s a possibility that it’s just about Barbie being a toy, rather than real, and we’re all overthinking this.Report

• Murali in reply to Brandon Berg says:

@brandon-berg

There are standards of beauty which we can identify as standards of beauty, but which we can still subjectively think of as grotesque. They just don’t happen to be our standards of beauty. e.g. Padaung women of Burma and Ndebele women of South Africa. Both have hyper elongated necks (its not exactly the neck which is elongated, but that’s what it looks like) supported by neck rings or coils.Report