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WHERE DID BARBIE COME FROM?

The world's most popular and best selling toy has been around since 1959. She began as an idea in the mid 1950’s when, while visiting Switzerland, Ruth Handler purchased a German Lilli doll.



Basing the original Barbie on this doll Ruth then hired Charlotte Johnson to create Barbie's elegant wardrobe. In 1958 the patent for Barbie was obtained. Ruth and her husband Elliot named their new doll after their own daughter, Barbie.













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Barbie's boyfriend Ken, was named after their son. In 1959, Barbie made her way to the New York Toy Show and a star was born!!Vintage Barbies are considered to be those made from 1959 to 1966.

In Australia Barbie was not sold until 1964 so the very early ponytails and bubblecuts are hard to find here but we have more side-part bubblecuts and swirl-ponytails to make up for it.

Barbie® embodies all our hopes and dreams. She can be anything. No matter, being a small girl or a big girl. We all like to dream...

By 1958 Mattel had become a leading maker of action toys for boys and saw Lili as a perfect way to even the market and collect more parents' money. After buying all rights to Lili and various studies of the market, they transformed blonde sexpot Lili into brunette Barbie, the paradigm for little girls. In a study where 100 mothers and daughters were shown the Barbie separately, nearly all the mothers said that the Barbie Dolls were too mature looking and didn't want their children playing with them (let alone buying them). Nearly all of the girls in the study said that they loved the doll and wanted to own one.

So Barbie was put on the market and set several sales records still unparalleled. The Mattel people attribute the success to (great marketing and) the need of little girls to play with a symbol of themselves in the future, and not just with baby dolls, which train them to be mothers. Barbie allows children to dream about becoming teenagers and going out and wearing stylish clothing. They marketed her as the super model who has everything that little girls should want: fame, wealth, attention. Successful gimmick, obviously.

ORIGIN OF KEN


Only after realizing the popularity of the Barbie wedding dress did Mattel think about designing an escort. Then came the problem... Should he have genitals? After much deliberation, they decided to have the male be perpetually wearing non-removable shorts, under which would be a "properly placed" bulge. Due to a mix-up in a the factory in Tokyo, Ken became castrated and thus even more wimpy and androgynous.

To Mattel, Barbie is a Cinderella success story for child marketing. It is a testament to the influence children can have over their parents' wallets and opened a new target audience. To feminists Barbie is a tangible representation of the sexism of society. To little girls and boys, who knows? It may not be the teenage role model that Mattel assumes it is, or have the effect that feminists fear, but for some reason it is an extremely popular toy.

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