Deirdre Imeson Allen
March 11, 2013
What a Doll
Barbie is not just a doll, she is a lifestyle. Barbie has changed her appearance over the last 50 years to appeal to young girls and to show them that Barbie can be sexy and sporty and smart. Barbie has been one of the few toys to stand the test of time because Mattel has adapted to suit what society thinks is important, but as a society do we really want a doll that is sexy at first glance, then maybe a toy. All the clothes and a perfectly proportioned body suggest that appearance is the most important attribute for young girls to pay attention to. However, sexy hasn’t quite worked out the way Mattel would have wanted it to, thus Barbie has been revised many times to appeal to parents as well as children in a more positive and marketable manner. No matter how many revision’s Barbie goes through, it is clear to see that the plastic doll still has sex appeal. Barbie was the creation of a Jewish-Polish immigrant named Ruth Handler. Handler and her husband, Elliot, are the co-founders of Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie. A large producer of toys, Mattel, has become a household name. Barbie was introduced to the American public in 1958 and is named after Handler’s own daughter, Barbara. Barbie was designed to be a pre-teen, high fashion doll. Pre-teen girls could dress Barbie up in a large variety of clothes, from evening gowns to tiny little tennis outfit. Almost any occasion that a girl could dream of, there was also a perfect outfit to fit Barbie’s perfect body. Even though Barbie was fun for pre-teen girl to dress up and play make-believe life, parents were less than enthusiastic about the sexy siren. This was after all, the 1960s, and many people were more on the conservative side of ideals, so a sexy siren doll didn’t fit in with the conservative morals they were trying to instill in their daughters. Handler’s insight to make the necessary changes to appeal to...
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