Ruth Handler's Doll: The Transformation Of The Barbie Doll

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After a trip to Germany, Ruth Handler, the co-founder 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 woman. 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. Barbie was considered a breakthrough within the toy industry, designed to inspire and motivate young girls. The doll broke away from the stereotypical children’s doll, being the first young-adult doll to be produced within the United States. Initially, when Barbie was released she had blue eyes and blonde hair. Her…show more content…
Stating the doll was an unrealistic image of what a woman should look like physically. Consequently, customers frequently critiqued Barbie’s wardrobe. Some stated there was no correlation between the career and wardrobe. Focusing on the importance of the doll's appearance rather than the occupation she is representing. Often times the outfits were moving away from the initial purpose of the ad, distracting the audience from the message “we girls can do anything.” If the brand was focused on Barbies career they would portray the image of a practical wardrobe. For example, when Mattel portrayed Barbie as a business executive she would wear tight clothing and short skirts, serving no purpose to the actual career. When Barbie is dressed this way, young girls may concentrate on their physical appearance, rather than focusing on the importance of the career
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