Barbie is 58-years-old. Everyone’s favorite doll, the Barbie Doll, was first introduced at the American International Toy Fair on March 9, 1959. The doll is based on the German fashion dolls called Bild-Lilli, which, in turn, were inspired by a comic strip call girl character. Held in New York City, Mattel showcased this fabulous new doll at the 1959 Toy Fair and the rest is history. Do you think you know all there is to know about Barbie?
— LIFE (@LIFE) March 9, 2017
According to the New York Daily News, Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie, named the doll after her own daughter. In addition, Ken’s last name is Carson, who is named after Handler’s son. Ken Carson is two years younger than Barbie, as he was introduced in 1961.
Barbie is a midwest girl, born in the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. Her mom and dad are George and Margaret Roberts. Barbie attended Willows High School, but there is no mention if she attended her prom, or if she dated anyone before Ken. Maybe she was a career girl back then, focused on her studies?
Barbie comes from a huge family. Her brother and sisters are Skipper, Stacie, Chelsea, Krissy, Kelly, Tutti, and Todd. They are a different size doll, a bit smaller in height.
After decades of dating, Barbie and Ken had a conscious uncoupling in 2004. In 2006, Ken upgraded his look, thanks to the artistic geniuses at Mattel. Apparently, this transformation helped win Barbie back, as according to the Washington Post, the couple were reunited in 2011.
Barbie has had a slew of friends including her first best friend, Midge, British pal, PJ, Allan, Stacey, and Christie, the first African-American Barbie.
Her 18-inch waist, 33-inch hips, and 36-inch bust has been the subject of controversy. As she was originally modeled on a call girl, her unrealistic, exaggerated shape does make sense, yet is always the subject of criticism from feminists who feel that this creates unrealistic body expectations with little girls. The most popular Barbie doll is the 2016 curvy Latina doll. The brown-eyed, brown-hair doll is part of the Barbie Fashionista line.
Now, there is more diversity in Barbie. The iconic doll will now offer a variation of 22 eye colors, 10 skin tones, four body types, and 24 different hair styles to offer diversity.
— Barbie (@Barbie) March 8, 2017
Newstalk spoke to Mattel Senior Vice President Lisa McKnight who explained that the original white, unrealistically-shaped dolls were becoming irrelevant. After years of lackluster revenue, sales rose to $971.8 million in 2016 due to the new, diverse Barbie dolls.
“The brand was losing relevance. We knew we had to change the conversation.”
James Bond step aside. Barbie has had some serious wheels, including her first car, a 1962 orange Austin Healy roadster. Nowadays, Barbie drives a metallic pink Ultra Glam Convertible and can catch some rays as she drives. A responsible homeowner, she is also the owner of the gorgeous Barbie Dreamhouse. What more can a girl want?
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) March 9, 2017
According to Buzzfeed, the original doll sold for $3. Today, the modern equivalent would be $23.97. Despite the high price, 300,000 dolls were sold and a star was born.
Project Runway even had a Barbie challenge in the second season, and designer Nick Verreos’ design was the winner.
According to Wisconsin History, creator Ruth Handler has always contended that young girls wanted older dolls to dress up and play with. From there, the idea metamorphosed into Barbie becoming a career woman, never marrying Ken, despite many Barbie wedding dresses. Nor did Barbie ever have any children.
Instead of marriage and children, Barbie partook in over 108 different careers, including teenage fashion model, nurse, NASCAR driver, astronaut, army officer, pilot, and flight attendant. Barbie has always followed her dreams and inspired young girls to dream big and believe that they can be anything they want, just like Barbie.
Did you grow up with a Barbie doll? Share your story about your Barbie and if you also had some of the cool accessories like the townhouse, convertible, or camper.
[Featured Image by Ian Waldie/Getty Images]