Is ‘Normal’ Barbie Any Healthier?


Yes, we all know Barbie’s proportions are ridiculous, impossible even. If she were real, she wouldn’t menstruate. She would have to walk on all fours, wouldn’t be able to lift her head, and would be missing vital organs. Artist Nickolay Lamm was commissioned by to create a more realistic Barbie using the proportions of the average 19-year-old American woman (images of his ‘normal’ Barbie were first posted with an article on, the Huffington Post ran an excerpt yesterday). Blaming Barbie for giving little girls body issues has long been debated. (In 1998, Mattel even responded by increasing Barbie’s waist circumference and giving her a boob reduction.)

Lamm thinks his take on the doll looks just as good and suggests Mattel start making them. He says he based the doll’s measurements on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) averages. That means Lamm’s Barbie is 5 foot 3 inches,  weighs 166 pounds, and has a 37- inch waist. When I put these numbers into the body mass index calculator her BMI was 29.4, which is considered overweight and borderline obese. Though his doll doesn’t necessarily look obese to me, the CDC stats point to something perhaps more frightening than the size of Barbie’s wrists—the fact that the majority of 19-year-old American women are overweight and borderline obese. If we’re going change Barbie, maybe instead of  ‘normal’  we should shoot for a ‘healthy’ Barbie as a role model, one that could walk upright but also isn’t at risk for diabetes or heart disease.

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  • scallywag

    Does one really believe that most19 year old girls take their cue from plastic toys that they used to play with until the age of 12 and how much can a woman really alter her shape and size in some subconscious attempt to emulate her Barbie heroine?

    Would it not be more prescient to wonder if the media’s push and all the general cultural consensus to be slim and beautiful (whatever that means) is the more prevailing form?

    Which of course strikes the obvious question, if that is indeed the preferred aspiration of so many young women, why is it that in reality most women look nothing like Barbie, save for the occasional gaunt fashion model or lanky misfit who spends most of formative years being religiously teased?

  • Bernadette

    I think some more research is in order here. The link provided in the article is for CDC stats on adults OVER 20, which i would include those in their 30s, 40s, 50s and so on. Lamm said he based it on the average 19 year old.