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posted by alias FarrahF on Wednesday 10th of March 2021 12:07:14 AM

Celebrating Barbie, the Most Ubiquitous Women's Icon L’OFFICIEL celebrates the legacy and significance of the Mattel-manufactured Barbie doll in honor of her birthday. 03.09.2021 by Alice Cavallo From: Happy 62nd birthday, Barbie! The fashion doll and global icon has been inspiring young girls for decades, teaching lessons about identity, empowerment, and more along the way. It's fitting that her birthday falls in the midst of Women's History Month—with over 200 inspirational careers, fantasy roles, and countless clothes and accessories to swap, Barbie has always offered girls an outlet for aspirations and endless possibilities. But the history of Barbie started as one of shortcomings, both in real life and in a fantasy world. In 1945, co-founder of toy manufacturing company Mattel Ruth Handler once observed that her daughter Barbara would play with make-believe paper dolls of adult women whereas her son had toys that allowed him to imagine himself as different characters, from a firefighter and an astronaut, to a doctor and a police officer. This revelation inspired Handler to create a 3-D doll that showed little girls that they, too, had choices for being whatever they wanted to be. Fourteen years later, on March 9, 1959, the first Barbie doll named after Handler’s daughter, Barbara Millicent Roberts, and modeled after a German doll named Bild Lilli, debuted at the New York Toy Fair. Officially introduced to the world of toys, the first doll wore a black and white striped swimsuit with cat-eye glasses and her signature ponytail, mimicking the glamour of 1950s divas such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Though many toy buyers were skeptical of the doll’s appearance in comparison with the traditional toddler dolls that were popular at the time, Barbie took the world by surprise with a sale of 300,000 dolls in its first year of production. Now, over 90 percent of American girls age 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie doll. In 1962, before women were even allowed to open their own bank accounts, the Barbie doll bought her first Dreamhouse, becoming a symbol of independence and empowerment. In 1965, Astronaut Barbie debuted two years after Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space and four years before Neil Armstrong and his team landed on the moon, letting young girls imagine their futures in fields with far too few real-life examples. Since then, the American mass-produced Barbie doll has been a massive success, and over the decades she has assumed many professions, from a doctor and an archeologist, to a rock star and a computer engineer. She also enjoyed stints as a model for major fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, and Burberry, as well as a CEO, a presidential candidate, a vlogger, and an advocate for diversity and inclusivity. In recent years, Barbie has expanded to include several different body types (curvy, tall, and petite) as well as a more ethnically diverse offering. A number of celebrity Barbie dolls have been released throughout the doll's history as well. The first was the Twiggy Barbie, which was released in 1967 and was made in the likeness of the '60s supermodel. Others include Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Cher, and current young icons like Zendaya and Gigi Hadid. This year, the Barbie Inspiring Women series added a Maya Angelou doll alongside figures like civil rights activist Rosa Parks, feminist leader Susan B. Anthony, and tennis star Billie Jean King. Barbie has evolved in time to reflect the modern day woman’s style and current attitude, her dreams, and ambitions. Although the doll has also sparked her fair share of controversy for alleged racism, sexism, and body image issues—like Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova turned real-life Barbie lookalike—she has learned from the past and grown as a role model. More than just a toy, Barbie has been a mirror of the culture we live in and its evolution throughout the years, immortalizing the zeitgeist of every passing era in an easy and accessible way to millions of young people. Happy birthday, Barbie! Check out what the iconic doll looked like when you were born From: Barbie is wearing a black dress by Randall Craig, necklace & pumps by Integrity Toys.

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  • Published 11.27.22
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