Barbie, By Barbara Millicent Roberts Essay

Barbie, By Barbara Millicent Roberts Essay

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Although recently there have been some action being taken upon this issue, children toys have always seemed to be gender specific. For example, little boys are expected to only play with “masculine” toys such as action figures, toy cars, etc. and little girls with “feminine” toys such as baby dolls, kitchen sets, etc. These toys play a significant role in our society in shaping the way children are thinking beginning from a young age. However, of all the controversial toys, Barbie seems to take the cake for young girls. Barbie has transitioned throughout the years in order to adjust to her time period, which include the negative and positive aspects of that time, and reveal certain social constructs within our society such as the stereotypical views of the “ideal” woman, race, gender, and class.
After years of perfecting, Barbara Millicent Roberts, also known as Barbie, debuted her first appearance at the American Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959 through Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie. According to the Barbie website, Handler obtained the idea by watching her young daughter play with paper dolls and using her imagination to pretend that they were adults or teenagers doing what adults or teenagers may do such as attending college or having a career. She was also inspired by the Bild Lilli doll that was famous in Germany in 1952 who was a high end call girl and was sold as a sex toy usually bought by men. Barbie was a high fashion, teenage model (eventually branching out to multiple different careers over time). with a slim plastic body, pale skin tone, and came in either blonde or brunette hair (although she is known for her blonde hair). She wore a white bathing-suit with black strips that came along with sunglasses, ...


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...ented to the world. For many, Barbie has been seen as the ideal woman being slim, fair skinned, beautiful, and a virgin. She also exposes us to the issues of race by the company making the Caucasian Barbie the face of the company; gender by making her overly feminine with pink cars and houses and most parents only allowing young girls to play with this object; and class being that they are on the pricey side therefore lower class families might not be able to obtain this item for their child or would have to save for this object. Although the company has tried to bring variations to Barbie and give her certain careers that are male-dominant such as being an astronaut, she still gives our children the wrong message: that you can be and do anything if you look like this. In reality, Barbie has shine a light on a lot of the issues that are constructed within our society.

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