The Barbie Phenomenon of the 1960s
Tall, skinny, blond, and beautiful Barbie has been a doll, influencing and changing the lives of many young girls for years. Even though she is considered a role model to many, some feminist do not see Barbie as a positive figure to growing girls. Over the past decades Barbie has created an empire of herself, friends, and accessories. Barbie has not only changed the doll world but, toy world also. Being one of the world’s most popular dolls, Barbie created in 1959, has a strong history, has influenced girls in respectable and negative ways, and along with her many accessories and companion dolls has brought a whole new meaning to a doll. “Kids had to have the Barbie doll….it just took off and went wild” (Stone 32). This was very commonly heard throughout American homes in the 1960s, when Barbie first became a hit. Barbie hit the market in 1959 under the creator Ruth Handler, and the toy company Mattel. When Ruth went to create the doll she did not intend on it being a worldwide success. Ruth got the idea from “Lilli dolls” which where German dolls you could dress up (BB). Handler liked the idea of having a three dimensional Barbie that a child could dress up in high fashion clothing. Handler then got together with her husband, Elliot Handler, and family friend Harold Mattson to create the toy company Mattel (Stone 15-17). Mattel was named after the creators of Barbie. In the 1950’s Mattel hired workers to create the ultimate doll. It usually took about fifteen workers to create a single Barbie and in 1959 Barbie hit the market selling for just three dollars (Bellis). From the start when Barbie first hit the market she was very untypical. Not only because she was a new type of three dimensional doll the world had never seen, but her overall dress and figure made her stand out to certain audiences, in good and bad ways. To many she was considered a great role model for young girls. Barbie was sought out to be independent and...
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