Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. March Learn how and when to remove this template message The first Barbie doll was introduced in both blonde and brunette in March Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children's toy dolls were representations of infants.
Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot , a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. He was unenthusiastic about the idea, as were Mattel's directors. She gave one to her daughter and took the others back to Mattel. The Lilli doll was based on a popular character appearing in a comic strip drawn by Reinhard Beuthin for the newspaper Bild.
Lilli was a blonde bombshell, a working girl who knew what she wanted and was not above using men to get it. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in , and although it was initially sold to adults, it became popular with children who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately . Upon her return to the United States, Handler redesigned the doll with help from engineer Jack Ryan and the doll was given a new name, Barbie, after Handler's daughter Barbara.
The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail , and was available as either a blonde or brunette. The doll was marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model," with her clothes created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson.
The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese homeworkers. Around , Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production.
Louis Marx and Company sued Mattel in March The company additionally claimed that Mattel "falsely and misleadingly represented itself as having originated the design". Mattel counter-claimed and the case was settled out of court in Barbie's appearance has been changed many times, most notably in when the doll's eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.
Barbie was one of the first toys to have a marketing strategy based extensively on television advertising, which has been copied widely by other toys. It is estimated that over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide in over countries, with Mattel claiming that three Barbie dolls are sold every second.
Legacy and influence Barbie products include not only the range of dolls with their clothes and accessories, but also a large range of Barbie branded goods such as books, apparel, cosmetics, and video games. Barbie has appeared in a series of animated films and is a supporting character in the Pixar films Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.
Barbie has become a cultural icon and has been given honors that are rare in the toy world. The exhibit featured Barbie dolls over two floors as well as works by contemporary artists and documents newspapers, photos, video that contextualize Barbie. From her early days as a teenage fashion model, Barbie has appeared as an astronaut, surgeon, Olympic athlete, downhill skier, aerobics instructor, TV news reporter, vet, rock star, doctor, army officer, air force pilot, summit diplomat, rap musician, presidential candidate party undefined , baseball player, scuba diver, lifeguard, fire-fighter, engineer, dentist, and many more When Barbie first burst into the toy shops, just as the s were breaking, the doll market consisted mostly of babies, designed for girls to cradle, rock and feed.
By creating a doll with adult features, Mattel enabled girls to become anything they want. In a series of novels published by Random House in the s, her parents' names are given as George and Margaret Roberts from the fictional town of Willows , Wisconsin.
She has an on-off romantic relationship with her boyfriend Ken "Ken Carson" , who first appeared in A news release from Mattel in February announced that Barbie and Ken had decided to split up,  but in February , they were hoping to rekindle their relationship after Ken had a makeover.
She has owned a wide range of vehicles, including pink Corvette convertibles , trailers, and Jeeps. She also holds a pilot 's license, and operates commercial airliners in addition to serving as a flight attendant. Barbie's careers are designed to show that women can take on a variety of roles in life, and the doll has been sold with a wide range of titles including Miss Astronaut Barbie , Doctor Barbie , and Nascar Barbie Barbie's siblings and cousins were also created including Skipper , Todd and Stacie twin brother and sister , Kelly , Krissy , and Francie.
Barbie was friendly with Blaine , an Australian surfer, during her split with Ken in For the Nicki Minaj song, see Black Barbies song. Body Image From the start, some have complained that "the blonde, plastic doll conveyed an unrealistic body image to girls.
One of the most common criticisms of Barbie is that she promotes an unrealistic idea of body image for a young woman, leading to a risk that girls who attempt to emulate her will become anorexic. According to research by the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, she would lack the 17 to 22 percent body fat required for a woman to menstruate. Oreo Fun Barbie from became controversial after a negative interpretation of the doll's name.
Diversity Complaints also point to a lack of diversity in the line. Starting in , it produced Hispanic dolls, and later came models from across the globe. For example, in , it introduced "Cinco de Mayo Barbie" wearing a ruffled red, white, and green dress echoing the Mexican flag. Hispanic magazine reports that: She also has had close Hispanic friends, such as Teresa. However, she was produced using the existing head molds for the white Francie doll and lacked African characteristics other than a dark skin.
The first African American doll in the Barbie range is usually regarded as Christie, who made her debut in In , Mattel created a focus group with African American children and parents, early childhood specialists, and clinical psychologist, Darlene Powell Hudson.
Instead of using the same molds for the Caucasian Barbies, new ones were created. In addition, facial features, skin tones, hair texture, and names were all altered. The body shapes looked different, but the proportions were the same to ensure clothing and accessories were interchangeable. Part of the reason for this change was due to declining sales. Oreo Fun Barbie was marketed as someone with whom young girls could play after class and share "America's favorite cookie.
Critics argued that in the African American community, Oreo is a derogatory term meaning that the person is "black on the outside and white on the inside," like the chocolate sandwich cookie itself. The doll was unsuccessful and Mattel recalled the unsold stock, making it sought after by collectors.
Mattel announced that it would redesign the house in the future to accommodate the doll. One of these phrases was "Math class is tough! Although only about 1. In October , Mattel announced that Teen Talk Barbie would no longer say the phrase, and offered a swap to anyone who owned a doll that did. The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice stated "Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West.
Let us beware of her dangers and be careful. Fulla is not manufactured by the Mattel Corporation although Mattel still licenses Fulla dolls and franchises for sale in some countries , and the "Jewish" Barbie dolls are still available in other Muslim -majority countries including Egypt.
Mattel's promotional material read "Customize the fashions and apply the fun temporary tattoos on you too", but Ed Mayo, chief executive of Consumer Focus, argued that children might want to get tattooed themselves.
The claim was described as an overreaction by Joseph Prohaska, a professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. On November 30, , the FBI issued a warning in a private memo that the doll could be used to produce child pornography , although it stated publicly that there was "no reported evidence that the doll had been used in any way other than intended. Mattel sued artist Tom Forsythe over a series of photographs called Food Chain Barbie in which Barbie winds up in a blender.
In the first commercial, a female doll is lured into a car by a doll resembling G. Joe" doll after she is accidentally knocked into a swimming pool by the "Ken" doll to Kiss 's "Dr. Mattel claimed that the commercial did "irreparable damage" to its products,   but settled. Joe dolls, then returning the Barbies to the toy stores from where they were purchased.
Malibu Stacy " Collecting Mattel estimates that there are well over , avid Barbie collectors. Ninety percent are women, at an average age of 40, purchasing more than twenty Barbie dolls each year. The doll was a Barbie in Midnight Red from and was part of a private collection of 4, Barbie dolls being sold by two Dutch women, Ietje Raebel and her daughter Marina.
Mattel developed this collection in response to mothers concerned about their daughters having positive female role models .
In , sales figures showed that Bratz dolls were outselling Barbie dolls in the United Kingdom, although Mattel maintained that in terms of the number of dolls, clothes, and accessories sold, Barbie remained the leading brand.
On December 3, , U. He allowed the company to continue selling the dolls until the winter holiday season ended. It is most often associated with pre-teenage and adolescent females but is applicable to any age group or gender. A person with Barbie syndrome attempts to emulate the doll's physical appearance, even though the doll has unattainable body proportions. These procedures have included multiple nose jobs, six pack ab implants, a buttock lift, and hair and chest implants.
In , researchers Helga Dittmar, Emma Halliwell, and Suzanne Ive conducted an experiment testing how dolls, including Barbie, effect self- image in young girls. Dittmar, Halliwell, and Ive gave picture books to girls age , one with photos of Barbie and the other with photos of Emme, a doll with more realistic physical features. The girls were then asked about their ideal body size. Their research found that the girls who were exposed to the images of Barbie had significantly lower self- esteem than the girls who had photos of Emme.