What If Mattel Only Sold The “Real-Life” Barbie?

2 years, 7 years.

Dear Jack,

A story that has been going viral this week is about an artist named Nickolay Lamm, who showed the world what the Barbie doll would look like if she had the proportions of an average 19 year-old woman.

The main question I see being asked is whether this more realistic version would sell in stores.

My question, though, is more specific: How might the sales of Barbie dolls change if Mattel began making all Barbie dolls with the new proportions.

In other words, I’m not interested in knowing how a new “real” Barbie series would do in addition to the ones already in stores.

What I am curious of is what would happen if Mattel suddenly went through the trouble to make all their Barbies with these more legitimate proportions.

Barbie would look a bit different. The most obvious difference I see is how hilarious the “normal” Barbie’s feet are. They’re like barely half the length of the “real-life” Barbie’s feet!

I love asking my Facebook friends about stuff like this. Here’s some of the feedback I received from them on the subject:

“If Mattel were to only sell the ‘real-life version,’ would Barbies sell just as well as they always have?”

“Of course they would. A large part of Barbie’ s popularity is in just the name… Just look at Dora. She’s just as popular as Barbie but she’s short and her belly hangs out of the bottom of her shirt.” -Hannah W.

“People complain that society is telling us that we have to be skinny. Well in actuality the world is now telling me that I’m not ‘a real woman’ because real women apparently aren’t slender. News Flash: People come in ALL shapes and sizes. I played with action figures and stuffed animals as a kid… I figured I would grow up to look a lot like my mom, who is beautiful and always helped me to have good and realistic ideas about my self image, and to not look to toys to measure my worth.” -Elizabeth L.

“I think it would sell. The old Barbie is too skinny. Even for a doll. My daughter doesn’t like Barbies, anyway. So I guess I’m glad for that. But I grew up with Barbie and I never compared myself to the doll. I DID compare myself to celebrities and what I saw on tv. I guess it depends on the kid.” -Elizabeth U.

Ultimately, I’m sure it all comes down to what will generate selling the most Barbie dolls. I imagine it would take a lot of work and money to “break the molds” and create new ones for the “real life” Barbies, replacing the old ones all together.

It’s all speculation, but I really do love hearing what people are saying about it.






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  1. [...] average woman. The photo of Barbie standing next to her shorter, curvier counterpart went viral and parents began to wonder why this kind of doll wasn’t sold in [...]