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The world of Barbie is rich with stories and a legacy that goes beyond play. While she may be more famous for her fashion choices, we equally love her roles reflecting the changing dynamic of society. Here are 15 things you did not know about the Barbie doll.
Photo By Emily Lankiewicz
Imagine Barbie and Ken as the power couple of the toy world. Then, in a plot twist worthy of a soap opera, Barbie catches waves with Blaine, an Australian surfer, in 2004. Ken went out of production for a bit until 2011. When he makes a comeback with muscles and a complete makeover, he wins Barbie back.
Photo By Mattel Television – IMDB
Big, Happy Family
Barbie has a family worth talking about. A big, happy family that showcased the complexities of modern familial bonds. She has her sisters, Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea, lighting up her life. But she also has some lesser-known family members, the twins, Tutti and Todd, little Kelly, and baby Krissy. And her parents, of course, George and Margaret Roberts. It is a full house and then some!
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From dogs to zebras, Barbie has a love for animals that knows no bounds. It became a platform to teach the values of kindness, responsibility, and animal rights. Barbie has inspired generations to care for and love animals like our own.
Photo by Sean Bernstein – Unsplash
Breaking New Ground with Christie
Back in 1968, Barbie welcomed Christie, her first Black friend, into her world, showing us all that friendship and fun know no color. Christie has been rocking the Barbie scene ever since, proving that diversity is essential.
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Hangs with the Stars
Enter Twiggy, the first celebrity to get the Barbie treatment in 1967, merging the high fashion runway with playtime. It was a trendsetter move that opened doors for other stars to join the glamorous world of Barbie, keeping us hooked on who would be the next.
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The Debate Over Her Looks
Barbie has been at the center of talks about beauty standards for ages. Her measurements sparked conversations about the messages toys send us about body image. It is a reminder that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and it is high time toys reflect that reality. Barbie received some backlash over this.
Photo By Tara Winstead – Pexels
Dressing Barbie in Luxury
Barbie has a closet all young fashion enthusiasts have craved for as long as we can remember. It is filled to the brim with outfits from Gucci, Versace, and more. It is like she is walking us through a fashion museum, showing off a world where creativity in dressing knows no limits.
Photo By VintageLady7 – Etsy
A Billion Pairs of Shoes
Did you know Barbie has over one billion pairs of shoes? As unbelievable as it sounds, it cements her influence as a trendsetter in the industry. Over a billion pairs! It is a dream of any fashionista, making us wonder if there is a style she has not rocked yet.
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The Price of Fame
When Barbie first hit the shelves, she was priced at what now seems like a steal. Fast forward, and she is still accessible, proving that some icons can stand the test of time and inflation.
Photo By dgmattel – Reddit
Totally Hair Barbie
In 1992, Barbie let her hair down almost literally with the Totally Hair Barbie. This doll flew off shelves, showing us that sometimes, more is more, especially when it comes to hair.
Photo By Tom Barrett – Unsplash
Roots Are Not in Malibu
While many think Barbie is a Malibu girl through and through, she actually hails from the fictional Willows, Wisconsin. It adds a layer of depth to her character, reminding us that everyone has a story, even if it is not what we expect.
Photo By ALINA MATVEYCHEVA – Pexels
Fashioned after Paper Dolls
The inspiration for Ruth to create Barbie came from watching her daughter play with paper dolls. These paper dolls taught young girls to become caregivers, in the traditional gender dynamic sense. Ruth reinvented the fashion-doll category by fashioning a three-dimensional doll that could be anything she wanted.
Photo By Frederic Neema & Chesnot – Getty Images
From Gift to Global Icon
Barbie has had a journey inspired by a German doll, the Bild Lilli doll, which was meant to be a novelty item. Fast forward, and she is a household name, proving that with a little imagination, anything is possible.
Photo By Schlesinger Library, Harvard Radcliffe Institute
Named After Real Kids
The story behind the names of Barbie and Ken is as personal as it gets. They are named after the children of their creator, Ruth Handler. Ruth named Barbie after her daughter, Barbara, and Ken after her son, Kenneth. It is a fun fact that adds a touch of real-life magic to their story.
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A Book Series
In the 1960s, Random House publishers released a book on Barbie, titled “The World of Barbie”. The book revealed the backstory of her life, and included the names of her parents, who were not fashioned into dolls.
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When Barbie Missed the Mark
The “I Can Be a Computer Engineer” book stirred up quite the conversation about gender roles and expectations. It was a wake-up call, reminding us that even icons can learn and grow. Mattel had to apologize for it and instead be engaged in more responsible storytelling.
Photo By MatyBor – Etsy
Barbie in Uniform
Barbie always donned military uniforms approved by the Pentagon, showing us that she can be anything, even a hero in service. It is a salute to those who serve and a nod to the endless possibilities for all of us.
Photo By Eduardo Parra – Getty Images
Doll in a Wheelchair
Barbie’s friend, Becky, is introduced to the world in 1997. She is disabled, and it became the first doll ever to be wheelchair-bound. The creators, Mattel, fashioned the doll in close collaboration with the National Parent Network on Disabilities (NPND) and Toys “R” Us.
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100 Barbie’s Every Minute
An op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal in 2023 shared that 100 Barbie’s are sold every minute, anywhere in the world. The Barbie sensation refuses to die down even after six decades. Barbie was the first doll for generations, and it continues to remain, despite the negative attention it receives these days.
Photo By Amazon
A Career Woman
Barbie has a long and impressive resume. She has undergone 250 career changes in the last six decades! That’s huge. Her career as a ballerina, pop star, doctor, gymnast, veterinarian, baker, teacher, and astronaut were the top sellers in the global market.