1. The birth of Barbie and her first evolutions
Barbie was invented by Ruth Handler, an American woman. She watched her daughter playing with and she noticed that only infants dolls existed while children gave to their dolls adults roles. She quickly suggested to her husband, co-founder of Mattel an adult-bodied doll. Ruth went to Germany and then saw a dollcalled Bild Lili, the doll that Ruth had in mind. Lili was a doll designed for adults but Ruth noticed that little girls loved her. Ruth made his doll and called her Barbara, Caylah, Millicent Roberts, Barbie. The doll was presented to the American International Toy Fair in New York on March, 9, 1959, date which became Barbie’s birthday. Mattel bought Bild Lili doll rights and stopped hitsproduction, so Barbie was the only one in the market with a adult body. The First Barbie wear a black and white zebra striped, a ponytail and was either blonde or brunette. Her clothes were designed by a fashion designer, Charlotte Johnson in order to attract the little girls. During the first year, Barbie was a success : 350.000 copies were sold. This success was due to the baby boom, the explosion ofteenagers and the visibility of these young people. The toy industry was exploding and Barbie succeeded in the heart of little girls. Furthermore, this time was the birth of a new woman, embodied by Marilyn Monroe, with a feminine sex appeal and a mischievous look, between the woman and the child. Barbie was one of the first toys which strategy marketing were based on television advertising. Barbiegrew up with a generation : she started going to the university and skating. She then got a career in the 80’s. The guiding thread of Barbie was her fashion clothes. Barbie is going to export the American fashion all over the world.
Since the birth of Barbie until 1970, Barbie’s eyes were looking sideways, to give the impression of a glance and of submission, as woman were in that time. Thenshe was changed to look forward. At the same time, Barbie started driving a car, and she started practicing a lot of jobs and hobbies. It was the birth of a modern woman. Barbie changed few years after her birth : her chicks, her smile, her body. Ken also changed. What is interesting is that Barbie and her friends evolved in function of the time and fashion. For example, Ken’s face and hairchanged with the period.
Barbie wasn’t the only doll commercialized. She started having friends and a boy friend, Ken. A lot of ‘ethnics’ dolls were commercialized. She had a black people friend, Francie, while the United Stated weren’t ok with racial integration. Nowadays, every ethnic group is represented by a Barbie. Mariana, the Asiatic one, Teresa, the Hispanic one, appeared. Mattel thenstarted making ‘international dolls’ such as the Italian, the Parisian, the Eskimo,…
Mattel tried to make Barbie a real woman. Barbie’s family was created, which contributes to make her real. She has a boyfriend, Ken, friends and family. She had accessories, a home, cars, pets, ….
With the improvement of the technique, Barbie was more able to move her arms and legs, she startedtalking, using make up and little girls could brush her hair. About the talking, feminist were upset because Barbie was saying machist sentences.
2. Barbie nowadays: a reflection of our world.
Barbie is not only a doll, she is also the representation of the society. As seen before, her looking changed, because it was not really the one of woman of the 70’s who began to emancipate.Moreover, she practiced numerous jobs and hobbies, as women did.
From the beginning, Barbie represented woman who were considered as examples or heroines like Marilyn Monroe or Scarlet O’Hara (Celebrity, TV collection). Now, the new tendency is the representation of famous people: Madonna, Cher have their Barbie, and recently Mattel decided to create a Barbie representing Angela Merkel. They...