analytical Essay
1732 words
1732 words

Barbie Since the beginning of time, toys have often been an indicator of the way a society behaves, and how they interact with their children. For example, in ancient Greece, artifacts recovered there testify that children were simply not given toys to play with as in the modern world. The cruel ritual of leaving a sick child on a hillside for dead, seems to indicate a lack of attention to the young (Lord 16). The same is true of today’s society. As you can see with the number of toy stores in our society, we find toys of great value to our lives and enjoy giving them to children as gifts. Ask just about any young girl what she wants for Christmas and you’ll undoubtedly get the same answer: “A Barbie.” But what exactly has caused this baby boomer Barbie craze, and how did the entire world get so caught up in it? The answer lies in Ruth Handler’s vision for the first children’s adult doll. Mrs. Handler’s eleven and one-half-inch chunk of plastic began causing problems even before it’s public debut in 1959, yet has managed to become one of America’s favorite dolls. Ruth Handler and her two young children, Barbara and Ken, were merely sightseeing in Lucerne, Switzerland, when Mrs. Handler first saw the doll she herself had been trying to create (Lord 29). In the window of a small gift shop was an eleven and one-half-inch tall plastic doll with a slender woman’s body and a long blond ponytail. Her name was Lilli (“Bad Girl” 1). She had been created from a cartoon character in a West German tabloid similar to the National Inquirer (Lord 8). Dressed provocatively, and with a seductive look in her eye, Lilli had become a “popular pornographic gag gift for men” (“Bad Girl” 1). Excited to see her long-time idea a reality, Mrs. Handler bought three of the dolls and hurried home to begin work on her own doll (“Bad Girl” 2). It was 1956, and within three years, Mattel Creations began marketing the “teenage fashion model” as “a new kind of doll from real life” (Tosa 30). The new doll, deemed “Barbie”, was named after her own daughter Barbara, who’s many years of play with paper dolls had actually inspired her to begin designing the three-dimensional adult doll (Lord 30). Though Mrs. Handler’s version of the doll was not as racy or alluring as Lilli, her imitation of the “German streetwalker” would come back to haunt her many years later (”Bad ... ... middle of paper ... ...body and a new focus, she has plans to become even more spectacular with many new adventures and many new friends. Barbie’s new look includes a wider waist, smaller hips, a less “torpedo-like” bust, and flat rather than pointy-toed feet (“Bad Girl” 3). She is also playing an active role in new research in prosthetics. Jane Bahor, a woman who makes replacement body parts, had experimented with the plastic knee joints in Barbie’s legs. She has found that they work well as prosthetic fingers for her patients because they “are more realistic-looking and useful”. So far, Bahor has provided the replacement joints for more than a dozen of her patients and has been extremely successful in her studies (“Bad Girl” 27). As Barbie gets ready to turn the big 4-2, it is unreal to think that she has completed her last makeover. No doubt that as time changes and people’s attitudes towards life change, this timely doll will also be forced to adjust to the needs of society. With more than 75 successful careers, her own official website, and a namesake magazine, this little doll has become more than a child’s plaything. Whether we love her or hate her, she will always be a part of us all.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that barbie's anorexic figure is a result of her disproportional body size, which gave her wardrobe designers no limits to their imagination.
  • Analyzes how barbie's powerful influence has made her the ideal of feminine beauty. she has endured 20 operations and $55,000 worth of surgeries to create a life-size barbie with her own body.
  • Explains that barbie's new-found fame led to many young girls buying the doll and looking to her as a role model.
  • Analyzes how ruth handler's vision for the first children’s adult doll became a popular pornographic gag gift for men.
  • Analyzes how a barbie hate group called the barbie liberation organization switched the talking mechanisms in thousands of barbie dolls with those of hasbro's g.i. joe "talking duke" action figures.
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