Ruth Handler founded Barbie in 1959. She had observed her daughter Barbara playing with paper dolls for hours which sparked her vision to create a 3-D doll for girls to play with. The first doll sold for $3.00, but a perfect condition version of the same doll can reach more than $25,000 today.
The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit, a high ponytail and was available as either a blonde or brunette. Thousands of young girls from around the world saw the foll as a teen fashion model. In the first year, 300,000 dolls were sold.
Ken Carson who is Barbie’s infamous boyfriend, was introduced to the world two years later in 1961. Ken was named after Ruth’s son. Similar to his girlfriend, Ken has a fashionable line of clothing and accessories
In the 1980’s, Barbie was marketed as an aerobics instructor! The 1980s were also the beginning of a more diverse range as the first black doll was introduced in 1981.
Mattel released it’s first president edition in 1992 and there have been five more since! This was seen as a celebration of showing girls they can do anything, including being president of the United States.
Barbie’s main competition arised in 2001 from MGA Entertainment’s Bratz dolls. Compared with the Bratz dolls, who wore heavy makeup, some thought Barbie looked too wholesome.
In January 2016, after some controversy around unrealistic body image, Mattel announced the addition of tall, curvy, and petite body types to it’s range of dolls. Alternative skin tones, hair styles, and hair colours have also been added.
GIFs from GIPHY