Nickolay Lamm – ‘Normal Barbie’

Compared with the original Barbie doll, the changes are drastic: Lamm's doll is shorter and has more realistic proportions. Her feet are flat, not permanently built to fit into high heels.

Nickolay Lamm first created an image of what a Barbie doll would look like if given the proportions of an average 19 year old American girl. Motivated by a strong desire to show that “average is beautiful,” Lamm has decided to make his designs come to life with a doll called “Lammily.”

The Average size barbie highlighted how unrealistic beauty standards are, and how that seeped into all aspects of life, from fashion magazine’s to childrens playthings. I think that the ‘Lammily’ doll is a good idea because it would give younger girls a more realistic beauty standards, as well as promoting fitness rather than ‘thin ness’

“Lammily’s instant popularity was largely driven by a concern for body image. I believe this issue is of great magnitude. I myself have lived through my share of insecurities. Back in high school, I starved myself and exercised to exhaustion to have a set of six-pack abs. After achieving my desired BMI, I looked and felt terrible. This experience taught me to keep things in perspective. Every one of our bodies is different, so we should not be aspiring to some idealized standard.

I’ve grown up alongside of my younger cousin. Now she is a 19-year-old competitive collegiate athlete and top student, a beautiful young woman and an inspirational person. All muscles, she used to call herself “fat.” She could only look “fat” if compared to exceptionally thin beauty standards.” The artists close experience with unrealistic beauty standards gives him an insight into how to change those thoughts and change those standards. I admire the fact that he has taken  a stand and decided to start this off himself rather than waiting for corporations to change their designs.

“I want Lammily’s accessories to be reflective of real life in miniature form. I envision her reading books that inform and playing instruments that educate on the sounds and intricacies of music.” This alone makes the doll more relatable and realistic to everyday life than dolls already on the market who are princesses or fairies etc.

Another good thing about Lamm’s Lammily plan is Lamm Plans “for Lammily to come in different ethnicities and body shapes. But all future body shapes will be of healthy typical women.” As if Lammily didn’t come in different body shapes and ethnicities she would still only be promoting one body type, creating different beauty standards whereas creating different body types makes the project more inclusive. // Elizabeth Plank // 5th March 2014 // Nickolay Lamm // 27th March 2014 // Alison Vingiano // 5th March 2014


Jayne Steiger – Monster Girls

Here, have a Merlady~

Steiger pretty much specialises in drawing all things cute and creepy including these monster girls, which I love. Each ‘ghoul’ displays aesthetic traits of different monsters. The above  sea creature/mer-folk has fin-like parts on her arms and her skin and hair colour suggests the sea/water as well as the sea shells in her hair. I think that this helps to communicate the type of monster she is, though the design of the character itself without clothes/accessories or colour would still be clear because of the scales, ‘fins’ and ears which seem to be popularly used amongst mer-folk characters.

Hime Bat lady~

The characters are humanised and are often pictured in human clothing and doing human activities, the above monster on her phone, the below ones walking their monster dogs. This helps to give them personality. Generally they have quite human anatomy but adding in little bits of animals or classic monsters its clear that they are indeed monsters. A lot of the girls have characteristics of teenage girls in their styling and what they’re doing,

I like the pastel colours that Steiger uses. As the monsters have all different skin tones she uses the backgrounds to make them stand out against it. Also the colours differ to dark, scary ones that may usually be associated with monsters making them more light-hearted and fun. Steiger is inspired a lot by Gothic Lolita fashion and some of the outfits, hair and colours reflect this, the work she makes appeals to people in that scene as it combines spooky gothic things with more pastel colours and sweet things associated with Lolita fashion.

2 ghoul 4 school

Each characters personality differs. The Mer-girl eating a cupcake looks more shy but polite and sweet as she looks at the viewer but the devil girl here looks more excitable – with an attitude as she is pictured winking and doing the peace sign as if she’s mid- movement. The cyclops below (maybe because she only has one eye) looks really bright eyed as if she’s looking in awe at something. I really enjoy how they all have long monster-y tongues reaching towards the food they’re holding. It gives a quirky mischievous sense of character to them.

The digital media she uses works really well for the colour schemes as she can select pretty much any colour and create different tones easily as well as creating a block colour that isn’t at all patchy. I also think the coloured outlines are really effective as they’re more visually interesting than just black outlines and help to bring the character out from the background.

Target’s Photoshopped Thigh Gap

Target epic photoshop fail model thigh gap bikini

Recently this image appeared on targets website, displaying some crazy photoshop skills, including an added ‘thigh gap’ that cuts out part of the models crotch and spikes on the underarm and hip.

The obvious editing of the photo makes it clear that many photos on the website and other clothing stores will have images that are edited to the model looks slimmer.

 it’s clear that they’ve been using photoshop to shave off parts of this girl’s body to make her appear thinner than she already is, which is worrying when you consider this product is being marketed to teenage girls” The image of slim girls is marketed to teenagers over and over again leading them to strive for bodies like the models which is sometimes unattainable, as the images are manipulated and not true representations of the models body.

Wouldn’t it be better to leave the models body how they are? The girl in this photo was already slim looking without taking chunks of her body out to fit the ridiculous ideal for teenage girls.


Alexsandro Palombo created this set of Disney princesses with disabilities. They aim to ‘turn the spotlight on people who aren’t usually represented in fairytales and break down preconceived ideas of what is beautiful'[1]. By using Disney princesses as the subject of these works they may appeal to younger girls and particularly encourage ones with disabilities that they are beautiful. The artist ‘was left partially paralysed from cancer and was inspired by the discrimination he faces on a daily basis'[1 i]

Screenshot (3)[2]

The comments on these pieces suggest that the images would be inspiring for disabled girls but also bring up the fact that there are lots of disabilities that are not represented here such as deafness (hearing aids) etc. Perhaps the collection could have been improved by including more disabilities than amputated limbs.

The images themselves are quite crudely drawn, I find, like the ones you find on knock-off merchandise and since the facial features are a little off I think the images look a bit unsettling but I like the concept behind them. Maybe this style is meant to emulate the way a child would re-draw their favourite Disney character.

‘Susan Stout, interim president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition, said she would love to see one of Palombo’s princesses on the big screen.

“We want everyone to know it is possible to live well with limb loss,” she told the Daily News. “A Disney Princess would help raise awareness and, in turn, acceptance of limb loss.” ‘ [2]


[1]Stylist Magazine, Issue 211, 5th March 2014, Helen Bownass



Sailor Jerry

“A Sailor Jerry tattoo was characterised by bold unwavering lines with a refined use of colour and amazing detail (the riggings in his clipper ship tattoos were nautically accurate). His one-of-a-kind work combined America design and traditions with Asiatic colour and sensibilities. His visionary style is revered to this day.”

The women in Sailor Jerry style tattoos and drawings have a pin-up style, some like the one above also had an ‘Island Girl’ style. These images will have been primarily tattooed on sailors and may have acted as a ‘souvenir’ of their time in the Navy.

They have simplistic faces but still give the confident, pin-up attitude and are posed in classic pin up manners. The images kind of strip images down to the bare minimum, so they’re simplistic but not so much it becomes crazily cartoon-like. This would make the images quicker and easier to tattoo.

The images’ sepia tone gives it a timeless, what we would call ‘vintage’ nowadays. The colours used in the images are limited because only 4 tattoo inks were available at that time. Something i particularly like about the images is the shading, it gives a soft quality to the images and prevents it looking so flat, as there is a fair amount of block colours used. The colours also make the images look lighthearted and fun as warmer reds and browns were primarily used in the images.

These pictures use simple & direct iconography, making them readable. For example the ‘Sailor Beware’ image above shows icons of sex, alcohol and death all in one image, I find this similar to ‘Man’s Ruin’ images which usually also include some form of gambling.

The kind of style is still used by many tattoo artists nowadays, they have more of a ‘vintage chic’ element to them now rather than a ‘cheap and cheerful’ sailor tattoo quality.



discussions with my dad

Girl Frenzy

“Girlfrenzy magazine is the UK’s only underground girl zine. Published since way back in ’91, it’s bursting with quirky, interesting, kick-ass stuff by and about females: all kinds of articles and comic strips, and NO make-up tips! Highlights have included a Piss Manifesto, and a guide to making your own sequinned nipple tassles. Last year the zine went massive, becoming a big glossy girls’ annual.”

This has been around since about the same time as Riot Grrrl and sports similar kinds of imagery with black and white, simplistic drawings. However these images look more designed and polished than the Riot Grrrl style ones. I find the colours really striking, the brightness gives a lively and kind of bubbly look to it. The block effect on the colours helps to make it look so striking, kind of like a comic. It also gives a screen-printed look to it. The girl on the cover, doing some kind of lively action adds to the bubbly, lively feeling to the cover.

The text used on it reminds me of the Pink Panther. The offset text gives a sort of ‘unique’ feel to the image. The heart as the tittle gives a girly, cute attitude to the images, making it clearly girl-centric. But would this drive away more tomboy-ish girls that aren’t attracted to things that look feminine?

I like the fact that the girls on the covers usually all have different styles, although on these examples they are not noticably different sizes/weights (the first girl does have muscular arms though), I think having them different styles at least makes a start on supporting body confident women. But also by not featuring photographs on the covers it doesn’t promote a sense of ‘this is the norm’.

I really love the style of these covers, by having one image and not little images round the sides it’s not very cluttered like the trashy kind of magazines usually for teenage girls.

Riot Grrrl

Riot Grrrl is a third wave feminist movement that was formed in the early 90’s, primarily by Alison Wolfe and Molly Neuman of Bratmobile. The movement was partially set up in response to the way girls were treated at rock concerts at the time. It is said there was a violent scene, especially for women. Madigan Shive said  “I loved the energy but I remember looking round and seeing all these girls holding these jackets and I overheard someone saying ‘those are the coathangers’ “. This showed how girls were treated as if they were not supposed to be part of the rock scene, so Riot Grrrl aimed to make “Punk rock more feminist, or feminism more punk rock” it also “focused on what the issues were to be young and to be creative whereas previous feminism focused on more economic situations” (Sharon Cheslow) “we were reclaiming feminism for our lives”

Zines such as ‘Angry Grrrl’, ‘Grr’, ‘Gunk’ and the ‘Riot Grrrl’ zine inspired the scene and were incorporated within it as well as bands like Bratmobile, and Bikini Kill. The way they set up things in this kind of alternative, underground way made the scene appeal to younger perhaps more creative girls.  A problem with the Riot Grrrl movement is that it was “only relative to a white middle class girl” (Dasha Bikceem gunk fanzine) so girls of colour may have felt alienated within the scene.

The imagery in the zines are usually in black and white, as they will have been photocopied several times to create them in a DIY style. They’re quite simple line drawings and the stark contrast between the black and white gives it quite an ‘edgy’, alternative look. Since a lot of different people would/could contribute to the zines the styles of drawings could change between zines. Some used photographs with handwritten text around it, others had line drawings and text in the form of typewriter style lettering. The zines have a grunge kind of feel to them making them appealing to girls into a more alternative rock scene.


Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now

Riot Grrrl, Don’t Need You, a Herstory


Body Positivity & The Body Positive.

Body positivity aims to make everyone, no-matter what size/shape/style choice etc feel comfortable and confident in their body as well as discouraging ‘Shaming’ or insulting people, and self hatred based on these things. The recent movement of body positivity seems to be more prominent online than in other media, although I think it is starting to get into other forms of media. Groups are also forming to help people become more confident and comfortable in their bodies.

The Body Positive is one of these. “The Body Positive’s mission is to transform people’s beliefs about beauty, health, and identity, freeing them to live balanced, joyful, and purposeful lives. The result is a growing national movement of healthy, confident individuals contributing to positive change in the world.”  They hold various events for example workshops and groups as well as creative projects. Since the events are held in many places and the projects can be done by anyone anywhere they have started a good way of branching out and helping everyone get access to a service in which they can be helped to be positive about their body. The publicity of groups like this is not great. I think that groups like this need more publicity so that more people can find it and get support. The group also gives support to those with eating disorders.

People who have been part of ‘The Body Positive’ say:

“If ‘The Body Positive went global my generation would have so much more hope, so much more would be possible if people felt that freedom to love themselves and accept themselves as they are”

“The body positive is power, empowerment, passion, compassion, understanding”

“teaches young women to love their bodies just how they are”

The testimonials show that the scheme is a positive thing and does actually work to help improve body confidence and with greater publicity it could help a lot more people.


Pin-Up’s are defined as “A poster showing a famous or attractive person”. Usually the term ‘Pin-up’ is used in reference to the images that became popular in World War II[1]. These images depict an attractive female who “are usually glamor models, actresses and fashion models. Imagine the happiness of the male population with these pictures and women, who admire most of the pin up models back in the days because some of them are icons or known personalities.”[2]. Some pin-up is photography and others illustrations done in emulation of the photographs[2]. Notable artists include Gil Elgren and Alberto Vargas. Although the pin up became popular in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s it has been around since the late 19th century. 

 The pin up is sometimes viewed as a sexual thing, as the woman depicted is often in some kind of costume, outfit, or lingerie that may be somewhat revealing. 


Due to the sexualised images of women in the images it is debated whether the pin-up can be feminist or not, as the image of the sexualised woman is often linked to the objectification of women, and “have been used to limit womens growth”[3]. However the pin up “has also represented the sexualised woman as self-aware, assertive, strong and independent”[4] which could suggest that the image has more of a feminist aura about it. Since it was meant for mass production and consumption it also made “An Image of modern female sexuality that was instantly recognisable, culturally acceptable and eminently purchasable”[5]. In showing the female sexuality as an acceptable thing it, in ways could become empowering for women everywhere to embrace their sexuality. 


A main quality of the pin up girl is the straight up confidence they exude. The pose of the girls have a lot of attitude about them and give the appearance of a strong, assertive woman, which would be a good point of inspiration for girls. In the book ‘Pin Up Grrrls’ it states “I imagined being the pin up women, but not for him” in reference to how her friends brother viewed the pin ups as opposed to how she viewed them. By saying ‘but not for him’ it suggests that there is something to be gained for the self by being a pin up girl even its intended audience is other people. 

The girls are painted in colours that are mainly realistic but also more vibrant, which gives them a radiant glow. Perhaps this is to accentuate the beauty of them. A problem I find with the classic pin up art is that all of the girls are quite thin/tall/busty and there is little variation in the bodies. In regards to body confidence, it doesn’t help by having little representation of girls of different sizes but the pin-up is generally what was found attractive at the time just like most images in advertising or ‘page 3 girls’ are of similar stature nowadays. However modern pin-up photography that aims to copy the style of the original pin-ups is popular amongst girls of many different body shapes who find it empowering. 


Although the Sailor Jerry style tattoo pin-up is not modern, nowadays tattoo artists still emulate this kind of style and putting their own spin on the classic pin-up. With the 50’s rockabilly style becoming ever popular, pin-up style can be seen in modern fashion.



3-  Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 13

4-  Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 8

5- Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 10

Body Shop – Ruby

“In 1998, The Body Shop debuted its self-esteem campaign, featuring the generously proportioned doll we dubbed “Ruby.” Her rubenesque figure graced windows in The Body Shop windows in the UK that year, along with our slogan, “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do.” She went on to appear in stores in Australia, Asia, and the United States, where she captured the imaginations of consumers weary of the rail-thin heroin-chic of the beauty industry’s advertising messages. Ruby was a fun idea, but she carried a serious message. She was intended to challenge stereotypes of beauty and counter the pervasive influence of the cosmetics industry, of which we understood we were a part. Perhaps more than we had even hoped, Ruby kick-started a worldwide debate about body image and self-esteem”

The image of Ruby was closer to the average woman’s body and, I think by including it in an advert would have helped to kick-start body positivity movements earlier and perhaps combated the medias pressure on girls to conform to one body shape. The adverts slogan highlights how unachievable the ‘ideal’ supermodel body is and by saying there are “3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels” it helps to make the viewer feel more comfortable with their body as there are many women in the same position.

The advert was pulled as “Ruby was not universally loved. In the United States, the toy company Mattel sent us a cease-and-desist order, demanding we pull the images of Ruby from American shop windows. Their reason: Ruby was making Barbie look bad, presumably by mocking the plastic twig-like bestseller”.  

It is often said that the Barbie doll gives an unrealistic standard of beauty to girls, the doll has unnatural proportions that are not achievable by the human body “Analysis by rehabilitation website has shown that, if she were a real person, Barbie would have to walk on all fours due to her size three feet, and would be incapable of lifting her enormous head with her tiny little neck. Her 16-inch waist, meanwhile, would leave her with room for just half a liver and a few inches of intestines.”  butts since girls often play with these dolls from a young age could the dolls unrealistic body be influencing the body image of young girls? In 2006 a study was done by the University of Sussex that concluded that girls exposed to the Barbie doll showed higher levels of body dissatisfaction, and low body esteem whereas girls given the Emme Doll which had more natural proportions showed no/little difference to the control group.

The Body Shop’s Ruby figure, I think, somewhat showed Barbie up as being an unrealistic representation of the female body as it was more natural looking and the character gave off an aura of confidence and a ‘love yourself’ attitude.  The advert is successful using a doll as although an image of a real woman may have been a more straight up example of an average size body, using the doll meant that they could get away with more of the body being exposed.