There aren’t too many realistic doll options for boys out there. Sure, there’s action figures like Hasbro’s G.I. Joe or Mattel’s Ken doll. But they pretty much all have ripped abs and chiseled faces (and are “able-bodied”), which reinforces an unrealistic body image for boys from a young age. Thanks to Lammily, a toy company, there’s now a new option called “Normal Ken.”
In 2013, Lammily brought us “Normal Barbie,” which changed Barbie’s proportions to an average 19-year-old American woman. Like the female counterpart, the Lammily Ken doll will look like the average 19-year-old American man, with a BMI of 28.6–which means he’s shorter, his waist is wider, and his muscles aren’t killer abs from space. Nickolay Lamm, the dolls’ creator, has explained why he is making these alternate versions:
“What I hope it can do is show boys realistic of versions of men. It is one small step to take a focus on men’s body image issues…This issue is completely under the radar and that pushed me to make it happen.”
The male Lammily doll’s production will be crowdfunded in an online campaign–and Lamm’s main aim is to stop the unrealistic expectations that he himself felt growing up. In high school, Lamm often worked out in order to get a “six-pack.” Parenting expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa agrees that boys, like girls, also face unhealthy expectations:
“We don’t talk about this as much but boys have as much pressure. (Lamm’s) starting another great conversation when he is saying boys are also misrepresented. I think the most useful conversation—that parents of sons are not having as often as parents of daughters—is, ‘Did you know how the ways boys and men are shown in toys and TV… that those [images] are actually Photoshopped?'”
Dispelling unrealistic and unhealthy expectations is crucial to Lamm in general–he recently created the female doll’s “Period Party” accessories as a way to normalize menstruation.
If everything goes to plan with the fundraising campaign, Lamm is planning for “Normal Ken” to be available for purchase by November 2016. We can’t wait to see the finished product.