The History of the World's Most Famous Doll, Barbie

Good Essays
In 1945, Ruth and Eliott Handler founded Mattel – one of Americas leading manufacturing companies of today. The idea for the Barbie doll was conceived when Ruth watched her daughter play with adult paper dolls. She noticed the importance of being able to change the doll's clothes, and decided to create a three-dimensional fashion doll, naming her Barbie after Barbara (her daughter). At the time, the toy market was dominated by baby dolls and toddler dolls. Barbie was a new conception that became a worldwide hit. Since her debut in 1959, Barbie has remained one of the most popular toys of all time. There are two Barbie's sold every second, and more than one billion dolls have been sold around the world (Maine, 2000, cited in Slayen, 2011).


According to Ruth Handler, Barbie stands for women freedom.
Mattel has an "I can be.." line that sells Barbie dolls in 125 different occupations. In this case, Barbie is not promoting something impossible. She has had a large variety of jobs, everything from waitress to astronaut.

Freedom for women
Toy to play with (kids can creative)


Body image
One of the most controversial aspects of Barbie is her appearance. Her body is widely criticized for being too thin and out of proportion. To see how a real woman would look if she attained Barbie's proportions, Winterman (2009) took the measurements of a woman who was 27 years old, 5 foot 2 inches tall and a size 10. She later applaied Barbie's measurements to the woman. In order to match the doll's proportions, the woman would have to grow 24 inches in height, which would make her extremely tall (7 feet 6 inches). A similar analysis on Barbie's measurements was made by Galia Slayen (2011). As a part of the first National Ea...

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Milligan, Lauren. Barbie Works. 2010. Vogue News. Munger, Dave. What Barbie does for a little girl's body image. 2006. Cognitive Daily. National Eating Disorders Association. 2005. Statistics: Eating disorders and their precursors.

Slayen, Galia. 2011. The Scary Reality of a Real-Life Barbie Doll. University of Bath. 2005. ‘Babyish’ Barbie under attack from little girls, study shows. [press release] 19 December 2005.

Winterman, Denise. 2009. What would a real life Barbie look like? BBC News Magazine. http://
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