Sizing Up Barbie

BATD ON Jul 04, 2013 AT 11:06 am

Believe it or not, the much loved Mattel toy, Barbie our best dress-up friend since childhood,  has been around since 1959!

Since then, there has been much debate over her ‘perfect’ figure. Why don’t her proportions reflect that of a real woman? What would a woman with those proportions really look like? Well, at just 16-inches her waist would be four inches thinner than her head, leaving room for only half a liver and a few inches of intestine.

Her fragile 3.5 inch wrists, together with her 6-inch ankles and size 3 feet would prevent her from lifting most things, and she’d be totally unable to stand up – having to crawl on all fours.

But the most controversial question continued to be: does Barbie’s unnatural proportions create negative body image views little girls have of their own bodies who’ve played with the toy for decades?


Mattel Barbie v. Nickolay Lamm’s Barbie

Barbie dolls have unhealthy measurements of an 16″ waist, 33″ hips and a 36″ bust compared with the typical 19-year-old woman’s 31″ waist, 33″ hips and a 32″ bust.

Using these CDC measurements, Artist Nickolay Lamm settled the dispute with an experiment by creating ‘Normal Barbie.’

“I created this ‘Normal’ Barbie, because I feel that if there’s even a small chance of Barbie negatively influencing girls, and if normal Barbie looks good, why doesn’t Mattel make ‘normal Barbie’? … I want to show people that normal Barbie can look even better than real Barbie. Average is beautiful.”


Side view of what Barbie’s proportions are v. a real 19-year-old’s.

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