When the first Barbie doll appeared in shop windows, it not only won the hearts of little girls, but also became a symbol of independence, creativity and dreams. This is a story about a girl who dared to look into the future and discover what awaits her there. It's not just a doll. It is a manifestation of female power and a revolution in the world of toys. Her story began with the imagination and determination of one woman - Ruth Handler.
Barbie - the heroine of our dreams. Success based on vision and determination
Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a little girl. Her name was Barbara. She was a few years old and had big dreams. The baby doll, which until then gave her joy, like many other girls of her age, ceased to fascinate her, but she wanted more. She wanted to look into the future and discover what awaited her there. Instead of playing with traditional dolls, Barbara started making her own. Cut, flat figures from paper. She brought them to life in her imagination, making them real women whose roles she could impersonate in the future.
Each of these characters represented different characters and activities that she wanted to try out. Children love to play different roles. Little girls want to grow up. They want to do everything grown women do. They want to wear their mother's high heels and paint their nails. They want to be independent. Decide for yourself. They want to be what they want to be. The future seems so unimaginably fascinating! They want to influence their lives, be independent and make their own decisions. They want freedom of choice. Dolls that look like babies don't fit this dream. They look strange in the roles they are cast in. That is why little Barbara reaches for paper figures of adult women who better reflected her idea of adulthood. However, these paper clippings had their limits. What would it be like to play with a real 3D doll that didn't look like a baby but like a real girl? Does such a doll exist?
A few years later, Barbara's mother, Ruth, came across a doll in a shop window in Switzerland. A doll that wasn't a baby. But she wasn't a toy for little girls either. It was meant for adults, made by men for men. But Ruth didn't care and decided to buy the doll. She had a plan. She got inspired and wanted to launch a similar sale at a toy company she co-founded. It was a revolutionary idea, but her husband and the entire team of employees (male) were skeptical.
A breast doll?
It was too controversial and difficult to implement. Many people were tapping their foreheads. How could a mother buy such a doll for her daughter? Even Ruth's husband did not believe in the success of this idea. However, Ruth did not give up. She was convinced that this doll could change the world of toys, that it could give girls something more. She could let them dream and stimulate their imagination. She could give girls the opportunity to play with a doll that not only plays the roles of a mother, but also independent and strong women. She took risks. She had to be brave, just like the character she created. Brave enough to reach for your dreams. Has the doll been launched on the market? Yes. It sold 350,000 copies in its first year. Her name was Barbie.
"My whole Barbie philosophy was that with a doll, a girl could be anything she wanted to be," Ruth wrote in her 1994 autobiography. "Barbie has always represented the fact that a woman has a choice."
The German prototype of the most popular doll in the world
Lilli was a blonde sex bomb with high, narrow black eyebrows, red pouty lips, and red fingernails. Her hair was pulled back in a high ponytail, with a single curl often falling over her forehead. She had strongly defined feminine shapes, and she was direct, shameless, insolent. But at the same time chic. She talked freely about her lovers. She wore black high heels and round large earrings. She dressed provocatively, and when a police officer pointed out that she couldn't parade around the street in a bikini, she asked which piece of clothing she should take off.
It was made of plastic, usually 19 cm, but sometimes as much as 30. It had been the subject of black-and-white comic books since the first issue of Bild in the early 1950s. Lilli. As a funny gift for men. She wasn't a cheap toy, and she wasn't a kid's toy - at least not right away.
Ruth Handler, co-founder of the now 2nd largest toy company, Mattel, spotted her in one of these shop windows. Based on Lilli, despite the skeptical employees of her company, as well as her husband, Elliot, who was reluctant to the idea, she created a new version of it. Designer Jack Ryan helped her with this.
What did the first Barbie doll look like?
The doll no longer had such strongly bulging lips. They relaxed. Her eyebrows were softer and her skin was lighter. It was also made of better quality material. The initially outlined nipples, created in a factory in Japan, have been gently filed down. The adult porn doll became the friendly girl next door. When Ruth conducted a market study, the mothers who took part were not thrilled. Already then they drew attention to her figure. A figure of a woman, not a child. With a very narrow waist that accentuated the hourglass shape.
Handler nevertheless presented it at the International Toy Fair, which took place in New York on March 9, 1959. She named her Barbie, but her real name was Barbara Millicent Roberts. She was available in two versions: as a blonde and a brunette, although the former has always been (and is) more popular. At the time, she was wearing a one-piece swimsuit with black and white zebra stripes, white sunglasses, round earrings, and black shoes with delicate heels. All these elements were movable, they could be freely removed and put on.
The doll was not popular at the Fair, but this did not discourage its inventor. A few years earlier, Mattel established cooperation with Walt Disney and in the mid-1950s became a sponsor of his program - The Mickey Mouse Club. There she placed the first television commercial that was completely aimed at children. It features several Barbie dolls in a variety of outfits, including a cocktail dress, black evening dress and wedding dress, with many movable accessories. In the background, a female voice sings: One day I'll be just like you.
Barbie's first TV commercial from 1959
It turned out that Ruth knew very well what little girls wanted. The doll was a huge success. So big that her companions soon appeared on the market: boyfriend Ken, friend Midge, younger siblings and many accessories.
Today, Barbie has had at least 250 professional careers, is available in about 40 different skin colors, dozens of hair colors, eyes and different body types. Her image changed along with the position and perception of women in society. Not only in the United States, but all over the world.
Who is Barbie?
Who wants. She is independent and bravely reaches for her dreams. Model? Here you go. businesswoman? No problem. Want to be president? He starts a campaign and runs. Dreaming of going into space? She becomes an astronaut before the first man stepped on the moon. Want to serve in the military? He becomes a medical sergeant in Operation Desert Storm. He wins medals, runs a house (unless he prefers to run an office), pilots a plane, runs a vegetable garden. And when he is seriously ill, he undergoes chemotherapy. Or he takes part in the Paralympics in a wheelchair.
She has a boyfriend. Her romantic relationship has been going on for over 60 years! It is true that they had a break and broke up on Valentine's Day 2004, but after exactly 7 years they got back together. At the time, Barbie was dating Australian surfer Blaine Gordon. But Ken is the love of her life! Though they never got married and had no children. Barbie does not need it, she is free and decides about her life and career on her own.
She is also an older sister. He has seven siblings: Todd, Tutti, Stacie, Kelly, Skipper, Chelsea and Krissy. He also has cousins, uncles, and although not in the doll world, only in books, but of course also parents. Plus pets. Oh, and friends.
Barbie inspires. He runs a vlog in which he raises important and real issues. There is Shera. It draws attention to the really important issues and threats of today's world. She is a strong, fearless woman. Regardless of skin color, eye color, hairstyle and shape.
Is it the object of criticism? Of course! Like any woman. It was before it went on sale and still is today. Since the 1970s, she has been criticized for materialism and unrealistic body proportions. In the mid-1990s, scientists concluded that if she were a real woman, she would not have menses. But then she reflected the ideal of a woman that prevailed in society. And still does, for many years. And it changes as the perception of the fair sex changes. Can you blame her?
She is a doll. A doll that inspires you to fulfill your girlish dreams. It teaches you to discover your own talents, set your own path and break stereotypes.
#barbie #toys #toy #doll #history #ruthhandler