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Barbie Through Ages, From Inception To Today

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The much-hyped Barbie movie was released today. Here’s all you need to know about the History of Barbie. 

In the fascinating world of toys, few names stand as tall as Barbie, the quintessential fashion doll cherished by generations. Created by the renowned toy manufacturing giant Mattel, whose inception dates back to January 1945, Barbie’s story is intertwined with the history of the company responsible for crafting numerous other cherished playthings like Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Monster High, and Polly Pocket.

Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. The doll is named after Handler’s daughter Barbara, who was the inspiration behind Barbie’s creation. 

Barbie' movie release date, cast list, more: Read up on 2023 remake

Source: USA Today


History Behind the Evolution Of the Doll : 

Ruth Handler was inspired by watching her daughter play with paper dolls that resembled adult women. At the time, baby dolls were a popular toy. There were not many dolls on the market that allowed girls to role-play and envision their future beyond motherhood. Initially, Handler’s idea was not met with excitement as her husband and fellow industry executives were apprehensive about an adult-bodied doll.

Barbie’s design was modeled after the Bild Lilli doll, which was created in the image of a German comic strip character. Lilli was initially marketed toward adults, eventually becoming popular among children who enjoyed dressing up the doll.Mattel bought the rights to Lilli and made their own version: Barbie.The first Barbie was introduced on March 9, 1959 – now considered Barbie’s official birthday. The doll was first launched at the American Toy Fair in New York City.

Barbie Wikipedia |


Barbie through the Ages: 

Over the course of several decades, Barbie has consistently adapted to the shifting times, exemplifying a cultural revolution that spans through the years. Let’s take a closer look at her transformative journey. Barbie has shattered the plastic ceiling by pursuing over 250 careers, including a groundbreaking moon mission in 1965 before Neil Armstrong’s, and later excelling in various roles, ranging from a doctor and paleontologist to a rock star and computer engineer.

The Seven Shocking Facts You Never Knew About Barbie


  1. Launching of the first Barbie Doll in New York City –

Barbie, was officially introduced on March 9, 1959, emulated the glamor of 1950s stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, with 300,000 dolls sold in the first year, and a mint condition #1 dollar now worth over $25,000.

Barbie and Ken's long-lasting love

Source: The Today Show

  1. The Year of Ken – 

Ken Carson, Barbie’s on-again, off-again longtime boyfriend, made his debut two years later in 1961 and was given the name of Ruth Handler’s son.

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  1. Barbie’s Friends and Family –

In response to criticisms portraying Barbie solely as a sex symbol, Mattel introduced Midge Hadley as Barbie’s best friend in 1963 and followed it up a year later by introducing Skipper Roberts as Barbie’s little sister.

first celebrity barbie Hot Sale - OFF 64%

Sources: Pitre Kanal Sistemleri

  1. First Celebrity Barbie –

The trend began in 1967 when supermodel Twiggy became the first celebrity to have a Barbie modeled after her, and later, other notable figures like Cher, Audrey Hepburn, Diana Ross, and JK Rowling followed suit, joining the ranks of celebrity Barbies.

Black Barbie Reproduction

Source: Fashion Doll Guide

  1. African American and Latina Barbie Introduced- 

Prior to 1980, various African American dolls, including Barbie’s friend Christie introduced in 1968, had been part of the collection, but an official African American Barbie and a Latina Barbie were officially created in that year, coinciding with the release of the first of over 40 different international Barbies to date.

The Barbie Blog: February Fools?

Source: The Barbie Blog

  1. Barbie and Ken Break-up –

In 2004, amidst a series of notable celebrity breakups, Barbie and Ken made headlines by announcing their decision to remain friends, leaving the Dream House, which had always been Barbie’s, intact. After spending seven years apart, the iconic duo eventually reunited.

The Moschino Show Was a Barbie-Themed Dream World - E! Online

  1. Barbie walks the runway- 

 In commemoration of her 50th anniversary in 2009, Barbie took center stage with her very own runway show during the New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, showcasing original designs crafted by 50 prominent fashion designers.

Drag Queen Barbie

Source: Burlexe

  1. Drag-queen Barbie –

The renowned avant-garde design duo, Phillipe and David Blond, renowned for their glitz and glam, brought forth the Blonds Blond Diamond Barbie, an exquisite doll bedecked in sparkles, gems, and fur, which some consider as the first “drag queen” Barbie.

Chemotherapy Barbie' Will Help More Children With Cancer Thanks To One  Mother's Petition | HuffPost UK Life

Source: Huff Post UK

  1. The first Chemo Barbie –

In 2012, Mattel produced a limited number of a bald friend of Barbie named Ella to support young girls with cancer, distributing them exclusively to hospitals. Following a petition from a cancer patient’s mother, Mattel responded in 2014 by agreeing to produce more Ella Barbies to further aid the cause.

Barbie: A brief history of the doll through the ages

Source: The National

  1. Barbie Embraces diversity-

In 2016, in response to persistent criticism regarding the lack of diversity in Barbie dolls, Mattel introduced Barbie Fashionistas, which featured four body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 24 hairstyles, aiming to better represent the varied identities of modern women.

These Incredible Women Who Made History Are Being Made Into Barbie Dolls

Source: BuzzFeed

11. Barbie Goes Historic –

In 2018, Mattel launched the “Inspiring Women” collection, spotlighting three remarkable, history-making women—Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, and Katherine Johnson. Amelia Earhart achieved groundbreaking feats as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, while Frida Kahlo, an acclaimed painter and activist, remains an influential figure in empowering women’s movements today.

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