What is Barbie? The true story behind the iconic doll

What is Barbie? The Barbie series is a global phenomenon that has been entertaining and inspiring girls for over 60 years. The series includes dolls, books, movies, and TV shows that celebrate the power of female empowerment and imagination.

What is Barbie?

What is Barbie?

Barbie is a fashion doll created by American businesswoman Ruth Handler, manufactured by American toy company Mattel and launched in 1959. The toy is the figurehead of the Barbie brand that includes a range of fashion dolls and accessories. Barbie has been an important part of the toy fashion doll market for over six decades. Mattel has sold over a billion Barbie dolls, making it the company’s largest and most profitable line. The brand has expanded into a multimedia franchise since the late 1980s, including video games, computer-animated films, and a live-action film.

Barbie and her male counterpart, Ken, have been described as the two most popular dolls in the world. Since its launch, Barbie has transformed the toy business in affluent communities globally by becoming a vehicle for the sale of related merchandise (accessories, clothes, friends and relatives of Barbie, etc.). Writing for Journal of Popular Culture in 1977, Don Richard Cox noted that Barbie has a significant impact on social values by conveying characteristics of female independence, and with her multitude of accessories, an idealized upscale lifestyle that can be shared with affluent friends.

Sales of Barbie dolls declined sharply from 2014 to 2016.[1] In 2020, Mattel sold $1.35 billion worth of Barbie dolls and accessories, and this was their best sales growth in two decades. This is an increase from the $950 million the brand sold during 2017. According to MarketWatch, the release of the 2023 film Barbie is expected to create “significant growth” for the brand until at least 2030. As well as reinvigorated sales, the release of the film has triggered a fashion trend known as “Barbiecore”.

History of Barbie

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.

During a trip to Europe in 1956 with her children Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth Handler came across a German toy doll called Bild Lilli. The adult-figured doll was exactly what Handler had in mind, so she purchased three of them. 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 satirical comic strip drawn by Reinhard Beuthin for the newspaper Bild. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955, and although it was initially sold to adults, it became popular with children who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately.

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Upon her return to the United States, Handler redesigned the doll (with help from local inventor-designer Jack Ryan) and the doll was given a new name, Barbie, after Handler’s daughter Barbara. The doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York City on March 9, 1959. This date is also used as Barbie’s official birthday.

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 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production.

Louis Marx and Company sued Mattel in March 1961. After licensing Lilli, they claimed that Mattel had “infringed on Greiner & Hausser’s patent for Bild-Lilli’s hip joint”, and also claimed that Barbie was “a direct take-off and copy” of Bild-Lilli. 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 1963. In 1964, Mattel bought Greiner & Hausser’s copyright and patent rights for the Bild-Lilli doll for $21,600.

Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance, and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll’s chest, which had distinct breasts.

Barbie’s appearance has been changed many times, most notably in 1971 when the doll’s eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.

History of Barbie

This would be the last adjustment Ruth would make to her own creation as, three years later, she and her husband Elliot were removed from their posts at Mattel after an investigation found them guilty of issuing false and misleading financial reports.

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. In 2006, it was estimated that over a billion Barbie dolls had been sold worldwide in over 150 countries, with Mattel claiming that three Barbie dolls are sold every second.

The standard range of Barbie dolls and related accessories are manufactured to approximately 1/6 scale, which is also known as playscale. The standard dolls are approximately 11+1⁄2 inches (29 cm) tall.

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FAQs

What does Barbie stand for?

Barbie does not stand for anything. It is just a name. The name Barbie was chosen by Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, after her daughter, Barbara.

Barbie was first introduced to the world in 1959 at the New York Toy Fair. She was an instant hit, and has been one of the most popular toys ever since. Barbie has been played with by generations of children, and has become a cultural icon. She has been featured in movies, television shows, and books. She has also been used to promote a variety of causes, including feminism and body positivity.

Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. She is from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. She has had many different careers over the years, including doctor, astronaut, and fashion designer. She is also known for her many fashionable outfits.

Barbie has been criticized for promoting unrealistic body image expectations in young girls. However, Mattel has taken steps to address these concerns, and has introduced more diverse body types and skin tones for Barbie dolls.

Despite the criticism, Barbie remains a popular toy. She is a symbol of empowerment and self-expression for many girls. She is also a reminder that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

What is Barbie known for?

Barbie is known for many things, but here are some of the most notable:

  • She is the most popular fashion doll in the world, with over 1 billion dolls sold since her debut in 1959.
  • She is sold in over 150 countries worldwide.
  • She has over 50 product categories, including fashion, home, and accessories.
  • She has had over 200 careers, including astronaut, doctor, and president.
  • She is the subject of several animated films and television shows.
  • She is a cultural icon, and her image has been used in advertising, fashion, and pop culture.

Barbie has been praised for her role in empowering girls and encouraging them to pursue their dreams. However, she has also been criticized for her unrealistic body image and for promoting consumerism.

Despite the controversy, Barbie remains one of the most popular toys in the world. She is a symbol of fashion, beauty, and possibility for girls around the globe.

What is the real story of Barbie?

What is the real story of Barbie?

The real story of Barbie begins with Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel Toys. In 1945, Handler was watching 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.

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In 1956, Handler came across a German toy doll called Bild Lilli while on a trip to Europe with her children. Lilli was a 20-inch doll with an adult figure and a voluptuous body. She was originally sold as a gag gift for adults, but had become popular with children who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately.

Handler was inspired by Lilli and decided to create a similar doll for American children. She renamed the doll Barbie, after her daughter, and redesigned it to be more wholesome and appealing to young girls. The first Barbie doll was introduced in both blonde and brunette on March 9, 1959. This date is also used as Barbie’s official birthday.

Barbie was an immediate success, and quickly became one of the most popular toys in the world. She has been credited with helping to break down gender stereotypes and giving girls a more aspirational role model. Over the years, Barbie has been released in countless different versions, with different careers, hobbies, and interests. She has also been the subject of controversy, with some critics arguing that she promotes unrealistic beauty standards.

Despite the controversy, Barbie remains one of the most popular toys in the world. She has inspired generations of girls to dream big and reach for their goals. She is a cultural icon and a symbol of female empowerment.

Why is she called Barbie?

Barbie is called Barbie because she was named after Ruth Handler’s daughter, Barbara. Ruth Handler was the co-founder of Mattel, the company that created Barbie. She wanted to create a doll that would be more aspirational for girls than the traditional baby dolls that were available at the time. She wanted a doll that could be a fashion model, a doctor, a teacher, or anything else a girl could dream of being.

The name “Barbie” was a nickname that Ruth Handler used to call her daughter. It was a short and easy-to-remember name, and it sounded modern and sophisticated. It was also a name that girls could relate to.

The name “Barbie” has become so synonymous with the doll that it is now used as the doll’s official name. Even though her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts, most people just call her Barbie.

In addition to being named after Ruth Handler’s daughter, Barbie’s name may also have been inspired by the German doll Lilli. Lilli was a fashion doll that was created in 1952. She was a popular adult collectible, but she was not intended for children. However, Ruth Handler saw Lilli and was inspired to create a similar doll for girls.

Barbie has been a popular doll for over 60 years. She has inspired girls all over the world to dream big and reach for their goals. She is a symbol of empowerment and self-expression, and her name is a reminder that anything is possible.

Above is information about What is Barbie? that we have compiled. Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of Barbie. Thank you for reading our posst.

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