I recently preordered a Lammily doll from lammily.com to be shipped this November. Hopefully just in time for Christmas. This is a project I feel really good about supporting and encourage others to do the same. You don’t have to buy a Lammily, you can also make a $1 donation.
So, why am I excited?
I would not consider myself a girly girl at all. My childhood was spent catching snakes, lizards, and frogs and then hiding them in my closet. Most of my time was spent outdoors with animals. I love to explore the woods around our home. I could go into the woods and become the world’s greatest explorer and get “lost” for hours.
However, on rainy or cold days I was stuck inside. What did I play with? Dolls. It started with Barbie when I was around 3 and when I was around 7 I got my first American Girl Doll. I also had an affinity for baby dolls. I can honestly say, that from all the toys I had, Barbie was played with the longest. From getting my first Barbies at 3 to becoming very upset when my mother gave them to my young cousin when I was 14. That’s 11 years worth of play! If my mother had not given them away, I might still have thme to this day. Dang, mom!
But was there a problem with Barbie?
In a plastic bin under my bed there lie Barbie upon Barbie. I’m sure there were over 30. Back in the 90’s, Barbie was a good and cheap gift to give. That usually meant you ended up getting them from family and friends for Birthdays and Christmas. If I was sick and in the hospital, it would be easy for my mother to find a $5 Barbie to cheer me up. The Barbies added up fast, and although each one came with different outfits and a supposed theme, they were all the same. All my dolls were blonde. All had the same length hair and the same body type. I think there was one Ken to 30 Barbies (sounds like our Bull to 30 heifers!) and he was also blonde! Most of the clothes my Barbies owned were pink. How can I take a veterinarian seriously if she’s dressed in pink? Her car was pink, her house, her furniture. All the pink was overwhelming. My group of barbies looked like a group of clones going to the pink factory, and Ken their creator.
Barbie’s Size and Shape
If you take off Barbie’s clothes, of course she has breasts, without nipples, and these breasts seemed very large to me. Usually there are molded in panties below a tiny waist. Her feet are in a permanent high heel position. Did I notice that when I was 3? Definitely not. Barbie served as a role playing toy for me to act out my imaginative ideas. I could make my dreams come to life through Barbie. She could be an explorer ( though with all the pink, I’m not sure how she could blend into the forest), a veterinarian, a zoo keeper. Did I notice Barbie’s size and shape as I became older? You bet I did. Surely I am to develop breasts one day as large as Barbie’s. Her waist is tiny, that must be the norm. I do not have to do anything special to look this way, it will just magically happen as I blossom from girl to young woman. I will wear high heels because that’s all that’s in Barbie’s wardrobe.
11 YEARS of playing. Some people say, ” Well, it’s just a doll.” If you had a child look at models in a fashion magazine for 11 years I’m pretty sure it would affect them. Well, I had a “fashion” doll of the ‘perfect woman’ that I played with for 11 years.
The problem is I don’t have blonde hair, though I have dyed it many colors throughout the years. I don’t wear a size D bra. My hair is not long, it’s short. I despise wearing high heels. There might be one pink outfit in my wardrobe. My waist is not tiny like Barbie’s. How many people actually do look like this? And if we all got our wish and became this, what would happen? We would all be Barbie clones, running off to the pink factory. We would all be the same, and that would be boring, right?
My Daughter’s Dolls
I didn’t think my daughter would ever gravitate to Barbies, and frankly, I was happy about it. From 18months, she was obsessed with animal figurines and acting out her own stories for them. Every once in a while she stated she WANTED some sort of doll and we would get her one, but it always sat on the shelf collecting dust while the others toys got played with daily. She has three or 4 Barbies that don’t get any attention. Then, one say in the toy store, she spotted Monster High. She convinced my mother to buy her one, and that was the start of it. She was PLAYING with dolls. My daughter is almost 5 and has quite a collection of Monster High dolls along with several other brand fashion dolls.
Why Monster High?
Barbies are boring. Really, once you have one that’s pretty much it. Unless you want an army of clones like I had. Every Monster High doll we have is different. Each is unique. Due to their “darker sense of style”, she has donned them her “Bad Barbies”.
All of our Bad Barbies have different hair colors and styles. Most have different skin colors. They are truly DIVERSE and ORIGINAL. This also makes them fun to collect for my daughter.
More Pros to Bad Barbies
Some have removable wigs
All have removable body parts that can be interchanged to create a truly different doll
body part packs are sold
Movie specials and webisodes
some dolls come with pets and diaries
male dolls (though we don’t own any)
stands are with most dolls, enabling you to display
Cons to Bad Barbies
Can’t stand on their own.
If you take a Monster High doll’s clothes off, you will see that her body is even tinier than Barbie’s. Her body, to me, looks anorexic. I was disgusted by this the first time I had to change my daughter’s dolls’ clothes. The body looks alien-like.
The breasts are smaller, but so is the waist. At this point I think it would be easier to strive to look like Barbie rather than Monster High. Can’t we find a happy medium?
My Little Pony Dolls
My daughter had been wanting these all last year, and my mother gave her the whole set for Christmas. She already had My Little Pony figures and has seen some of the shows/movies, including the one that shows the ponies as girls.
What my daughter says about MLP dolls
“I like how you can change their outfits. I like how you can play with them, imagine with them, and watch shows about them.”
These are the second most played with dolls we own. Why? Because she had seen the show. She knows the characters and has the pony figures to add to the play.
Dolls have a molded in tube/tank top, no breasts are shown
Bodies are made slightly chubbier, with not many curves
Has a show/movies
already large fan base from the show and figures
Dolls can stand if you place them carefully
Clothes are all short skirts/dresses
Whole feet are taken off when changing shoes. This freaked my daughter out the first time we did it. Feet are also very hard for kids to snap back on, even for me sometimes.
No boy dolls yet (that I know of)
The Disney Dolls don’t see much action here at our house. They are usually wanted after seeing the movies and played with for a few short days after. If we watch the movie again, they might see a little play.
That they go with a movie, of course
It’s easy to find male dolls
The male dolls look striking similar to the movie characters, while female dolls look completely different. Our Merida doll looks nothing like the true character of Merida. She is also sold in the gown that she HATES in the movie.
We have just a small handful of other brand dolls. I actually really like Novi Stars, but my daughter becomes frustrated that the arms keep coming off. Their clothes are also hard for a young girl to put on. Pinkie Cooper is a wonderful doll, and my daughter’s only reason for not playing with her more is that she doesn’t have the friends to go with her yet. =) Pinkie Cooper’s ears/hair can be removed and traded out. Other ears/hair are sold in clothing packs for these dolls.
What do girls want in a doll?
The most obvious answer here is clothes. Girls love to change dolls’ clothing.
A coordinating dollhouse, vehicle etc.
I think I speak for most girls when I say, ” I want a doll that can stand on it’s own.” I know it frustrated me as a child that my Barbies could not stand up without assist, and it frustrates my daughter with her dolls.
Realistic animal companions. Most girls love animals, some even aspire to be veterinarians. Let’s give them some realistic looking animals to role play along side their doll.
A doll that looks like them. You want to relate to your doll, you want it to look like you or an actual person you know.
What do parents want in a doll?
I want a doll that I FEEL GOOD ABOUT GIVING. I want a dol lthat is making a POSITIVE IMPACT ON KIDS.
I want a doll that is not centered on fashion, but imagination and education.
I want diversity. I want to see different skin types, hair LENGTHS (short hair rocks!), body types and sizes.
I want to see male dolls that BOYS WANT TO PLAY WITH.
I want to see dolls that are POSITIVE ROLE MODELS.
I want to see dolls in MODEST CLOTHING. Let’s teach our girls to dress respectful and have respect for ourselves. No, modest clothing does not mean BORING CLOTHING.
I want to see “career/hobby outfits” for dolls.
Let’s see outfit packs sold for dolls that are inspiring and educational. Encourage our girls that they can change the world!
I want to see educational materials with each outfit pack- perfect for learning and for setting the foundation for imaginary play.
A veterinarian outfit pack- REALISTIC vet outfit and accessories, with a small book with information on animal care and a story of doll as a vet.
A firefighter- REALISTIC outfit with a book on fire safety and perhaps an inspirational story of a female firefighter.
A birdwatcher- Realistic outfit and accessories with a North American bird field guide
Scientist- Realistic outfit and book of science experiments and inspiring story of women scientist.
Chef- ” Outfit, recipe book, tips on healthy eating. Realistic healthy doll play food.
Paleontologist- ” Outfit, realistic doll size fossils, book on fossils and/or women paleontologists. Perhaps dino experiment?
Swim suit- Instead of a a bright pink bikini, doll clothes consist of swim shorts and a sun shirt. Accessories can include common sea creatures/ shells found on the beach and come with a beach field guide. Also story of waste/trash on beach and how it affects animals, along with what you can do to help. Facts on skin protection from sun.
You get the idea. The sky’s the limit here. Let’s give girls REAL LIFE WOMEN that they can look up to. Let’s focus on WHAT WE CAN BECOME, instead of WHAT WE LOOK LIKE. Teach girls that they can be and do anything. Give girls confidence to succeed. Teach girls diversity and individuality. Let’s strive for modest clothing and self respect.
Doll House/ Furniture Ideas
Can we see a GENDER NUETRAL doll house? Something sturdy and completely customizable? Girls love customizing and making something their own. That can be kind of hard to do when most doll houses sold are mostly pink and purple. Realistic décor in a dollhouse doesn’t have to be boring. Perhaps different wallpaper for your dollhouse can be printed or bought, giving you a doll house that is truly your own. Maybe your doll is a veterinarian and wants the bottom floor of her doll house to be a vet’s office, while leaving the top floor for her apartment.
Furniture packs could be sold such as a large chefs kitchen, veterinarian office complete with realistc pets, a desk, pet crates, and an exam table. A girl who aspires to become an artist could fill her dollhouse with easels and paintings.
One reason Monster High and My Little Pony dolls are so popular: The shows and movies. Do I want another doll line with webisodes, shows, or specials? NO. What I want is a doll line with books that make a positive difference. A story on bullying. A story on changing the world. Stories about girls making a difference. Stories that inspire us all, not just children.
American Girl already does something similar.
What does Lammily need to succeed?
She needs lots of clothing. She is made bigger than Barbie, so even if you have lots of Barbie clothing, it surely won’t fit her.
She needs more dolls in the line, of different colors, hairstyles and sizes. She needs an exciting aspect, such as careers/hobbies that girls can aspire girls and that they can relate to.
What my Daughter says about Barbie
Me: Do you like regular Barbies?
Her: No, I mean, I do. Just haven’t felt like palying regular Barbies. They’re more like decoration. I like how I can change their outfits and that’s all.
Fashion dolls still have a long way to go. But Lammily is heading in the right direction. Is she perfect? No. Are we going to throw away our Barbies, Monster High, and other dolls once Lammily arrives in our home? Heck, no. Diversity, remember? There’s place for all these dolls in our play and Lammily will add to that diversity in a positive way. She will definitely be the most realistic doll we own. My hope is that Lammily will quickly evolve into a multitude of skin colors and feature modest outfits that girls don’t consider “boring.” That’s not too much to ask right? It’s a definite start.
Please support Lammily at https://www.lammily.com/average-is-beautiful
It took me awhile to write this blog post, so if you made it this far reading this, please leave me a comment, follow me, or pass this post along to someone you know. It will mean a lot to me and I thank you for reading my opinions and ideas. =)