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The History of Barbie

She can be anyone you want her to be and comes in all shapes and sizes - can you guess who we’re talking about? Barbie, of course! Through the years Barbie has been everything from a cultural icon and haute couture cutie to your fave celebrities and TV characters. She may date all the way back to the 1950s, but no one can accuse this girl of not keeping up with the times. Ever wonder how Barbie went from being a pipe dream to dominating the doll market? 

Barbie has been an inspiration for high end designers for years, she's even been honored at New York Fashion WeekBarbie has been an inspiration for high end designers for years, she's even been honored at New York Fashion WeekCourtesy of Mattel
 

Paper to Plastic

Barbie was the first teenage dollBarbie was the first teenage dollCourtesy of secondcitystyle.com
 

Before Barbie became everyone’s BFF there were no teen or grown-up looking dolls in America, only dolls that looked like children. In the 1950s Ruth Handler, the inventor of the Barbie Doll, noticed that her daughter Barbara often played with paper dolls and gave the dolls grown-up roles. This got Ruth thinking that kids might be interested in a doll that wasn’t just their own age, but when she ran it past her husband Elliot, the owner of toy manufacturer Mattel, he was skeptical. Little did he know his wife had just come up with the idea that would make Mattel a household name.

Bild Lilli Meet Barbara Roberts

In the 1950s Bild Lilli, a doll based on a German comic strip, became popular with little girlsIn the 1950s Bild Lilli, a doll based on a German comic strip, became popular with little girls
 

In 1956 Ruth and Elliot went on a vacation with their children to Europe, and when they stopped in Germany Ruth stumbled across a popular doll named Bild Lilli. Based on a German newspaper comic strip, Bild Lilli was a sassy working girl who knew how to get what she wanted. Unexpectedly, this doll that was mostly meant for adult fans of the comic became a hit sensation with little girls who loved playing Bild Lilli and dressing her in different outfits. Ruth was now more convinced than ever that a teenaged toy would  be a hit in the U.S. and with some help started working on her idea once she returned home.

After perfecting her product, Ruth affectionately named the new doll after her daughter Barbara, and debuted it at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 1959 – the date used as “Barbie” or Barbara Millicent Roberts’ official birthday!

Barbie’s Bio

The first Barbie debuted at the American International Toy Fair in 1959The first Barbie debuted at the American International Toy Fair in 1959
 

The first Barbie Doll was marketed as a teen fashion model and came with a signature high ponytail, a vertically striped bathing suit and was available as both a blonde and a brunette. In the 1960s Barbie books were published, giving fans an idea of Barbie’s back story. The daughter of George and Margaret Roberts, Barbie came from Willows, Wisconsin and went to a high school in Manhattan. Her on-again off-again relationship with boyfriend Ken Carson dates all the way back to 1961. In 2004 Mattel let everyone know that Barbie and Ken had finally split up and for a while she dated dreamboat Australian surfer Blaine, but recent rumors suggest that Ken is back in the picture.

Modern Girl

Barbie has had all kinds of careers, like Veterinarian!Barbie has had all kinds of careers, like Veterinarian!Courtesy of Mattel
 

Any Barbie owner can tell you that she boasts an ever-growing closet full of designer duds, which makes sense given her first job was modeling, but over the last few decades she has transitioned from being a teen model to every kind of job – doctor, astronaut, pilot, you name it! In 1965 Miss Astronaut Barbie hit toy stores and since then Barbie's careers have seen lift off every time!

The original Barbie sparked the worry and concern in parents because of her grown up appearance, and Barbie Dolls have inspired debate for decades among women’s groups who believe she should reflect real life women. Barbie took a huge step forward in the early 70’s when she started looking straight ahead instead of demurely to the side, and now comes in a range of different races and has a more realistic body shape - although many still argue that she’s got a long way to go.

Fun Facts!

  • Barbie has had over 40 pets – cats, dogs, a lion, a panda and a zebra
  • Barbie had her 50th Anniversary in 2009 and was celebrated at New York Fashion Week by celebrity designers like Calvin Klein and Christian LeBoutin
  • A standard Barbie is 11 ½ inches tall
  • The first African American Barbie, Barbie’s friend Francie, hit shelves in 1967
  • Barbie is pretty tight with her cousins Skipper and twins Stacie and Todd!
  • A Barbie Doll is sold somewhere in the world every 3 seconds

Have Your Say

Do you own any Barbie Dolls? Which one is your fave? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Would You Want to Be Made Into a Barbie?

  • Yeah, I would love it if I were made into a Barbie doll.
  • No, that would be a little weird.
  • I don't know - I guess it depends what kind of Barbie.
  • Barbies are for babies.

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

KayKayZ
KayKayZ posted in Friends:
Hmm, okay, well I'll try to give you the best advice that I can, Error. So you say you don't like your friend for a number of reasons: Liar, bad influence, uses swear words, too blunt, etc. I feel like some of these could be over-looked, such as the swearing and the 'bad influence' part. Really, all you have to do is just not copy her actions, and they won't be influential at all. If you disagree, it shouldn't be hard to just refuse to follow in her steps. However, lying isn't the best quality I would look for in a friend.  She doesn't seem like an enjoyable person to be around in general, which is why you are making this post, obviously. But I'm gonna ask you something here. Don't you think that, in a way, you're lying too? You're pretending to be her friend solely for purposes of monetary value because, I assume, your family cannot pay for or get you to gymnastic class themselves. If this is true, that's kind of bad, isn't it? It sounds like, to me, that your friendship isn't exactly a healthy relationship at all. But I'm gonna sympathize with you, since I know gymnastics must be important to you, and you wouldn't be doing this if you didn't have a good reason. So, what should you do about it? Well, personally I think there are a few things you could do. You could stop being her friend, therefore no longer having to deal with her; but in the process lose access to your gymnastics class and have to look for it in another way. On the flip side, you could continue to put up with her, which would probably not be in your best interests, but you'd still get to attend your class. Or, you could try talking to her about it. Ask her what she really thinks of your friendship, if she actually values you as her friend. Maybe you two can talk about problems that you're having with each other and work on fixing them. This option could have negative effects, since she might want to stop being your friend or things could become very awkward after that. But it's probably your best bet to be honest with her, as you'd hope she would be with you. How about if you tried being really nice to her? Kindness is contagious, and perhaps if you treat her well enough, she'll start doing the same to you. I feel like maybe if you complimented her, told her things that you really like about her, maybe even got her gifts or made her food once in a while, that she would come to appreciate you and all that you do for her. And in turn, she might start to respect you more herself, and become a good friend. That's about all I can say. If you're close enough with her mom, maybe you could even try asking her about her daughter and see if she can give you any advice. Hopefully that helped in some way, but if it didn't, maybe it at least made you think? I hope your problem gets resolved, Error, and you can be content with the outcome of it. :-)
reply 1 day
Error101
Error101 posted in Friends:
Okay so I have this friend and I don't like the type of person she is and I wouldn't be friends with her but her mom takes me to gymnastics every week.  I  had her over to spend the night and she lied about everything to me.  She kept telling me that she used to think I was weird and she didn't like me and it kind of hurt my feelings...  I would never tell someone that even if it was true.  She cusses and is a bad influence and she lies a ton.  There are a ton of bad qualities about her, and very few good ones.  I can't be mean to her because she is how I get to gymnastics but I don't really want to be her friend.  What should I do?  :(
reply 1 day
Wonderfulcalico
My parents have always been aggressive and abusive and I only just noticed it a couple months ago. Over time they've gotten worse (specifically my mother). Whenever she gets mad she'll yell at us and if she gets mad enough she'll hit and push us around. Whoever we get into arguments it's always one- sided and she always wins, even if she knows she is wrong. An argument we had not to long ago was about me not taking care of myself. She looked at my hair and started to touch it and told me "Your hair isn't soft why is it so dry, it's probably because you aren't taking care of your hair." Then she goes on to tell me that she's going to cut it and all of this other stuff when she knows I'm conscious about me looking like a boy ( Used to get called a boy for having short hair). As the argument goes on, I start to tell her things that she knows she is wrong about. She proceeds to yell at me then grabs me by the face and say "If you don't lower your tone and listen to what I'm saying I'm going to knock you in the head." Then she goes on to tell me she remembers nothing I was saying and that it's a lie. She also hit me when I didn't clean the laundry room correctly and whenever she gets fed up. I'm constantly having to watch what I say and do, because I'm scared that I'm going to end up hurt. She also likes to degrade me and tell how bad I'm doing. She's said plenty of thing like when I didn't have my bed covers tucked in she yelled at me and hit me and I said "Do you expect me to just stand here and take this", and she replied saying "That's what you are supposed to do you are the child and I am the adult, you take whatever I do until I'm done." Another time is when I had my band concert and I had to pick out the right attire. When we went shopping to get the clothing I chose slacks when she liked a skirt better, we went on to fight in the store and she bought the slacks. When we got home she said to me that real girls wear skirts and dresses and boys wear slacks and pants. This hurt me because she knows I have a past with people telling me I look like a boy etc. Another time I started to sleep on the floor, because I was practicing a minimalist life. When I left my pillows on the floor she found it and questioned me on why they were there. I told her it fell of my bed when really I left it there. Later when I told my dad, he told her and she got mad because I was getting cat hair on my pillows. She then proceeded to ask why I lied and I told her sometimes lying is better then the truth (I knew she would get mad that I was sleeping on the floor so I lied) then she told me that I was never going to have a relationship, a job, or friends ( This hurt me because I don't have friends now). She's also said that I don't take care of my body because I ate two sweets in one day which lead her to banning me from Doritos and now I have to ask to get chips and any other snack. She's told me I don't take care of my teeth because I have yellow spots from using whitening toothpaste with braces on. She's told me I don't take care of my hair so I can't wash it or do any hair style or then a bun. She had lead me to starving myself (Unless she makes me eat) and cutting myself. I've just stopped caring, because what ever I do is always wrong. I never get a choice in my activities, she controls my life in fact she me just in a different body. But what is even worse is that she's turning my dad into her. Now I have a scheduled time to eat breakfast and lunch, and to go onto my electronics. I feel like I'm in a prison with my parents constantly watching over me, in fact yesterday when I was pouring my milk my mom got out a measuring cup and poured my milk into the measuring cup and said "Why isn't this a full cup" and I replied saying "Because I don't measure my milk." Then she got angry at me. There's so much I could say about her, but I'll stop. Anyways my father is always sarcastic and he doesn't realize how much it hurts me. Today I was cleaning out my bag for next school year and my dad came in and said, "Wow, you aren't even dress yet and I had to come up here to tell you how sad." Just little things like that hurt me. My little sister got mad at me last week for sitting in a certain area and she said " Why are you sitting there," and I didn't reply because I didn't want to speak to her and she then said, "Probably because you are too stupid to answer." I wanted to break down crying then and there, but I kept it in. I've limited my talking to her, because all she does is break me down. Like when there was a Proactive commercial and she said, "Ha, you need that." That hurt me because just the other my mom was telling me how I don't take care of my face and that's why I have acne. My older sister and I barely talk, because whenever I try to talk to her she's mad for what ever reason and when my parents were talking about hitting my sister she was in the corner laughing. My cat Preston is very young and I got hi,abo a year ago. I get very sad and often cry, because I've seen him turn out scared and aggressive just like me because he's been through what I have. One time he pooped in a clothes basket (It's right next to his litter box) my mom grabbed him by the neck and hit him while she smothered his face in his poop, all while yelling at him. I was going to call the Animal Protective Services, but I got too scared and I realized how lonely I would be. Please help me I'm not sure what to do anymore. Also sorry for the very long post!
reply 4 days
Error101
Error101 posted in Family Issues:
Dear Kkmr324, I hope you get to feeling better as time goes on.  It does get better but like you said you can't actually get over it.  Losing someone to cancer is awful and I have never lost a friend and I hope I never will and I am so sorry that you did, but I have lost family to cancer and it is horrible.  I hope your okay. :(
reply 6 days
Kkrmr324
Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
reply 8 days