Barbie Dolls: Facts You Should Know

By Divya G

Ruth Handler was inspired to create Barbie dolls when she noticed a young girl playing with paper dolls. She founded the model for the doll while on a trip to Germany. She redesigned the doll and manufactured the first Barbie doll while working with engineer Jack Ryan.

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Who Is Barbie?

Did you know that the full name of Barbie is Barbara Millicent Rogers? The stars of the 1950s influenced the initial Barbie dolls. Before the dolls were made available for sale, mothers complained about their body shape.

Instead of redesigning the dolls, she advertised them directly to children. Mattel was the first company to use this advertising strategy directly to children via television ads. They sponsored the Mickey Mouse Club to reach their intended audience.

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Barbie at the New York International Toy Fair

On Match 9, 1959, Barbie made her debut at the toy fair. While she faced initial skepticism, the toy soon became an instant hit. The first Barbies were dressed in a swimsuit. The zebra-striped outfit was accompanied by blonde or brunette hair. 

The Barbies had a topknot ponytail and arched eyebrows. In terms of makeup, black eyeliner and red lips could be spotted on the dolls. The clothes were initially hand-stitched in Japan.

The outfits of the Barbie dolls kept up well with the trends of the changing times. In 1967, Mattel introduced Barbie dolls with bendable knees. The dolls could also turn at the waist. 

Closing Thoughts

Mattel started making dolls more representative of the natural world and addressed some of their controversies. From multiple skin tones to dolls in a wheelchair, the company has started taking the right initiatives to end the problematic representation of women.