"She looks like my sister."
"She, like, isn't, like, very thin."
"I think she's really pretty."
They may read like superficial judgments grunted by a pack of Tinder-swiping dudes, but these sound bites are actually something very, very different—perhaps even something inspiring, when you consider the context. They're quotes from a fourth grade class interacting with Lammily, the doll that has the exact proportions of the average 19-year-old American woman (according to the CDC):
In March, when Lammily was still a prototype, inventor Nickolay Lamm told me he doubted he'd be able to wrangle the money necessary ($95,000) to make his doll available to the masses. But clearly the 25-year-old underestimated the strength of his idea—by a lot. Eight months later, Lamm has raised $501,384, and his doll is now on sale on Lammily.com, shipping out in time to meet Christmas and Hanukkah deadlines. As for all that extra capital? Back in the spring, Lamm told me that if he raised any additional money over his goal, he'd "just reinvest it back into the project, of course," and it seems he's making good on his word. Beyond just pretty packaging:
Lamm also dreamed up a sticker pack that lets kids really customize their dolls:
But, true to the Lammily mission, these stickers aren't your run-of-the-mill lipstick cartoons and glitter hearts. Instead, included in the pack are stickers that create the illusion of acne:
The stickers also mimic stitches, tattoos, moles, stretch marks, and freckles, among other things.
As he explained in a letter on his blog over the summer, "Every one of our bodies is different, so we should not be aspiring to some idealized standard." Instead, Lamm wants to make dolls that work on "promoting the beauty of reality." Of course, he recognizes the shortfalls of having only one doll with one set image, so in the future he wants the Lammily line to include "dolls of different ethnicities and different healthy body shapes." Essentially, then, the Lammily dolls would combine all the best parts of their competition: the customization of an American Girl doll, the price point of a Barbie doll, and the empowering message of a GoldieBlox toy.
Until then, though, I'm pretty impressed with this one doll, which has already started changing the dialogue young girls have about bodies and body image. As someone who's had stretch marks from a growth spurt and cellulite from...being female...since the seventh grade, I really wish I knew early on that these things are normal, that they didn't make me weird or ugly or anything other than just me, so I wasn't Ask Jeeves-ing (it was 1999) "What are these gross striations on my legs?" because I really had no clue. Lammily, I think, could help calm some of that confusion for other girls, and send a message that those are the things we all have, not feet shaped like high heel shoes and a permanent layer of blue eyeshadow.
Below, watch the fourth grade class reacting to Lammily for the first time:
Lammily is available for $25 at lammily.com; the stickers will be available for $5.99 starting in January.