New 'Normal Barbie' is Fighting Menstruation Taboos

September 22nd 2015

It's a female rite of passage to learn about menstruation, and doll manufacturer Lammily is hoping to partake in the process with pads and a period party pamphlet for its popular Lammily doll. The period pamphlet explains what a girl can expect with her period and comes with doll underwear, pads, stickers for period tracking, and a calendar.

Last year, Nickolay Lamm created the "Normal Barbie" Lammily doll, which has the body type of a normal woman in her late teens, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Through various sticker extension packs, the doll can come with stretch marks, acne, freckles, bruises, scars, cellulite marks, and other things that are often viewed as taboo. With the new period party extension kit, adults have a "fun way to explain the menstrual cycle to kids,” according to Lamm.

“It’s just what happens in real life,” Lamm told TIME. “We wanted to put it on the doll so it’s not a scary thing.”

But talking about periods for the first time can indeed be scary, especially when uncomfortable parents are the ones teaching you about it. Lammily shows why this experience can be awkward and unpleasant in a video ad for the doll, which shows how the doll saves a young girl from her mom and dad's cheesy menstruation chat:

Lamm told TIME that he found it off-putting when Donald Trump said Fox News host Megyn Kelly had "blood coming out of her... wherever" after she challenged his historic treatment of women at the first GOP presidential debate. Though Trump denied he was talking about Kelly's menstrual cycle, many believed he had perpetuated the unfortunate taboo surrounding menstruation in our country.

“I don’t want to make this a whole political project or anything, but I think when [Trump] said that it was just an example of the overall culture where menstruation is very taboo, and not only taboo, but some people use it as an insult,” Lamm said.

He also wants to destigmatize the process of purchasing feminine products at grocery and convenience stores.

"Maybe it'll help us get to a point where people are just as comfortable buying toothbrushes as they are buying menstrual pads," he told Adweek. "We care about this issue and about anything that has to do with body image."

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