Barbie

Topics: Barbie, Mattel, Ruth Handler / Pages: 9 (2219 words) / Published: Feb 7th, 2014
Barbie: The Bitch Has Everything? On eBay, a bidder can purchase a pink license plate frame that says, “I want to be Barbie. The bitch has everything.” Barbie appears to have the perfect body, Ken, her handsome boyfriend, a multitude of careers ranging from a teacher to an astronaut, and an endless wardrobe with all the accessories. But a close examination of Barbie may reveal that she does not have everything. Mattel’s Barbie doll has enjoyed a long and profitable history. Invented by Ruth Handler, the first Barbie was marketed in 1959. This simple Barbie, named after Ruth’s daughter, wore only a black and white swimsuit and sold only for three dollars (“The Pros and Cons”). Today, Barbie is the best selling fashion doll around the world. Currently she is sold in 140 countries with annual sales of approximately $1.5 billion. Somewhere in the world, a Barbie is sold every half-second (Dittmar, Halliwell, and Ive). Barbie makes up more than 80 percent of Mattel’s profits (Lawton). In the United States among girls between the ages three and six own an average of twelve Barbies. Ninety percent of girls aged nine to ten own at least one Barbie (“The Pros and Cons”). Barbie has not only been a profitable toy but a culture icon for the past 50 years. Although a powerful socioculture agent, the Barbie doll, is good for fantasy play, she promotes stereotypical gender roles and unhealthy body images in young girls. Barbie dolls can be an excellent outlet for fantasy play. “Research has shown that fantasy and play are considered important part of girls’ socialization and development. Also, toys portraying gender and adult roles, like Barbie, provide girls with a tangible image of social values and social interactions” (Griffin). By playing with Barbie dolls, girls can imitate adult conversations and situations that are socially appropriate. The Barbie doll encourages girls to express their creativity and expand their imagination through pretend play.


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