Barbie was created in 1959 and since then has been a popular toy among young girls. Her popularity among young girls has started a debate whether she is a role model. Some see her as the toy she is, however others see her as the reason so many girls develop body image issues due to her unrealistic body.
Barbie, an American icon that was a product of the Mattel Company, revolutionized the lives of young girls and women for many decades. The creation of Barbie, meant for many young girls the opportunity to have choices during a time when women were limited. Although, Barbie has long been criticized for being associated with domesticity and her appearance among many other things, she is nonetheless an iconic figure in American History. As a female who grew up playing with Barbie dolls, for many people like myself, she was more than a toy, she was an influence that many woman have tried to emulate because she was an innovate figure in the 1960s and has continued to be well into today. The intention of this paper is to examine what were the intentions of Barbie doll creator Ruth Handler when the doll debuted in 1959 as well as the magnitude of Barbie’s impact on women and women’s history.
Merriam-Webster defines “idol” as “a greatly loved or admired person.” So what exactly does it take to be considered an idol? If the answer includes being a strong role model for young girls and staying relevant for over 50 years, Barbie fits the bill perfectly.
The idea of Barbie came about when a woman named Ruth Handler was watching her daughter play with dolls. In the 1950’s, girls of all ages only had paper or cardboard dolls to play with and preferred to play with cut outs of teenagers and adult dolls. So, Ruth Handler thought to make The Teenage Fashion Doll for older girls, as a three dimensional doll, called Barbie, named after her daughter Barbara (Heppermann 2010). However, Mrs. Handler met resistance when she went to her husband with the idea, and he didn’t think her idea would work out. When they travelled to Germany, she found a doll called Bild Lilli. This doll was a strong-minded individual that would use all at her disposal to get what she wanted. Bild Lilli was adult-bodied; which represented exactly what Handler had in mind for Barbie. In 1959, Barbie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair. This was the start of a new revolution, as far as dolls were concerned because for the first time, dolls did not only consist of paper and cardboard dolls, but also a more realistic, three dimensional doll that resembles what girls would want to be like, and can physically hold. But, like many toys, Barbie’s fame was not without its challenges.
Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration.
Barbie: Independent Woman or Damaging American Icon? She's the classic American beauty, the woman we all dreamed of being at one point in our lives. She has long, tanned legs, cascades of blonde curls and has such perky breasts that she doesn't even need a bra. Although this character does not need air to breathe and is made of plastic, she has been one of America's most potent icons for more than 40 years and has affected girls in ways even human models aren't capable of.
After a trip to Germany, Ruth Handler, the cofounder of the Mattel toy company, was inspired to create the Barbie doll. During Handler’s time in Germany she discovered the Lili doll. This specific doll was intended for adult males, due to the doll’s wardrobe. Typically, the Lili doll was dressed in lingerie or swimsuits, portraying the image of a sexy young women. After Handler learned about the Lili doll, she began to realize that her daughters did not have a doll that was not a baby figure. She believed the toy industry was training young women for what was customary, being a mom. Through Handler’s realization the Barbie brand was created, in an attempt to change the toy business.
At the request of many who say that Barbie gives an overly sexualized image of women to children, Barbie has undergone several breast reductions and waist-widening modifications to make her more acceptable not in the eyes of children, but in the eyes of the children’s parents. Even though her height has remained rather irrelevant through her 55 years of being alive, Barbie has been produced with several different feminine physiques and many different skin colors in an attempt to satisfy outraged people. She started out as a fashion doll that needed unrealistic proportions to help her numerous outfits fit better, but somewhere along the way her harmless journey became stained with the accusations of feminists. Even after takin...
Many of you have surely seen and even played with a Barbie, the fashion doll created by Mattel Inc. and launched in March, 1959. This blonde, plastic doll if compared to the body structure of a real human would have a height of 5 feet and 9 inches, a 36-inch chest, an 18-inch waist, and 33-inch hips (Winterman, 2009). Certainly this is not realistic in today’s society. Barbie’s unrealistic body structure can poorly influence young girls on their own body image and as such, regulations for toy makers should be put in place to promote positive body composition.
Barbie's image through the shape of her body and all of her accessories is beginning to lead to many issues in our world. Barbie is portraying a negative impact on society through her influential being as a plastic doll. In 1965 the slumber party package was on the market showing buyers how straight forward she is with her products and accessories. The package had all of the normal slumber party things like a robe, comb, and hair rollers but it also had a weight scale set at a permanent weight of "110" and a disturbing book on weight loss that read in all caps, "DON'T EAT." This package is an example of how misleading Barbie and her products really are because it is implying to children that they should not eat and that if they grow up