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Friday, March 9, 2018

It's A Barbie Day In a Barbie World

The world is 1959, Alaska is admitted to the union and becomes the 49th state and Hawaii is admitted to the union as the 50th state. Innovation is the world as the Boeing 707 Jet Airliner comes into service and little girls have fallen in love with the Barbie Dolls. 

Barbie made her debuted on March 9, 1959 at the American International Toy Fair in New York. Ruth Handler the wife of the co-founder of the toy giant Mattel, Inc created Barbie. She was inspired by watching children play with baby dolls and paper dolls. Handler believed that the toy market needed something more. 

It was on a trip to Germany where Ruth saw a doll similar to that she wanted to create. Her husband was convinced enough that together the Handlers made the first ever mass produced doll with adult like features. In 1959 the Barbie Doll made its first appearance in the American Toy Fair in New York City.

Barbie stood 11 inches tall and had flowing long blond hair. The inspiration behind the looks of Barbie was a doll named Lilli. Lilli was a German comic strip character that was originally marketed towards men in a racy gag gift sold in tobacco shops. Lilli had more popularity with children which made her the best option for Mattel to purchase and make their own version of the doll they named Barbie. Barbara was the real name of the Handler's who created the Barbie doll. 

Mattel also made news in the T.V. world when they sponsored the "Mickey Mouse Club" in 1955. It was the first toy company to broadcast commercials to children. The Barbie doll was promoted in the new toy commercials and this helped the doll grow in popularity. Other dolls followed behind Ken and Barbie's best friend Midge came out in 1963. Skipper debuted shortly after. 

Barbie has been a huge seller for the Mattel company. Barbie was seen by women as an alternative to traditional 1950s gender roles. Barbie has been seen in a series of different jobs. Airplane stewardess, doctor, pilot and more careers have been seen. Barbies style seems to never run out from designer outfits to p.j.s. Not only does Barbie have a full wardrobe but a car and a dream house as well. 

In reality Barbie would appear as a 36-18-38 woman. With this in mind there has been much debate over whether Barbie provides little girls with an unrealistic and harmful example and fostered negative body image. While there has been much debate Barbie and Barbie merchandise has soared topping 1 billion dollars by 1993. More than 800 million dolls have been sold around the world Barbie can be considered an icon. 

Through the years Barbie has seen some changes but for the most part she still has the same appearance as she did back in the day. 
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