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Author Topic: FIFTY YEARS OF BARBIE  (Read 113 times)
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Posts: 41646

« on: March 09, 2009, 08:02:43 am »

Women's 'choices'

Although the Barbie of today is more commonly known as a blonde, the first ones were also available as brunettes.

In their debut year, more than 300,000 were sold, at a price of $3 each.

Ruth Handler said of her creation: "Barbie has always represented that a woman has choices…I believe the choices Barbie represents helped the doll catch on initially, not just with daughters, who would one day make up the first major wave of women in management and professionals, but also with mothers."

From her early swimsuit days Barbie has sported a range of fashions and styles; some which would rival the Oscars red carpet for their inventiveness and designer labels.

She has also pursued more than 100 different careers, including astronaut, gymnast, flight attendant, Unicef ambassador, and Formula One driver.

Barbie even had several runs for president, including, ahead of her times perhaps, as a female African-American candidate in 2004. 

Ken, seen in beach boy and tougher mode, was once Barbie's boyfriend

As her popularity rose, so did her brand, becoming much more than just a doll.

Barbie soon acquired her own property portfolio, was given her own dream homes, a car, and even a love interest in the form of on-off boyfriend Ken.

Although Barbie has modelled many wedding dresses the "couple" never walked down the aisle together, and in 2004, in an "official" press conference news of their "split" was announced.

Generating billions of dollars for her makers Mattel, Barbie, with her long legs, tiny waist and big bust has also generated much controversy.

One of the biggest criticisms levelled against the doll is that it portrays an unattainable image for young girls.

Dr Arnold Blumberg, the curator of the 50 Years of Barbie exhibition at the Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore, said: "There have been a lot of occasions where people have said Barbie represents a very unrealistic and damaging idea of what a modern adult woman looks like…that it affects a girl's idea of her own body type, of her expectations in her life.

"Although, like anything else, they're a toy company, they're selling a fantasy figure, a doll for kids to play with," he said.

There have been other charges made against the doll, including that she is a bad role model.

A talking version of Barbie once said "math class is hard", but the slogan was later changed to "Math is hard, but not impossible!" following criticism from teaching groups.


 You wouldn't want a Barbie that didn't look perfect, that's what so great about her

Hunter Kelley, 16


Despite some of the negative headlines Barbie is still a hit with girls across America and the world.

More than one billion dolls have been sold since her inception, and according to the dolls makers, Mattel, 90% of American girls aged between three and 10 own at least one.

Barbie fan Danielle Scott, 16, said: "Playing with the hair, the brushes, switching outfits. It really just made girls be girls.

"All the characteristics of what to look forward to and what girls really could do..." she said.

Danielle disagreed with those who criticised Barbie's shape and size: "It's a doll. It is unrealistic, it's a stereotype, it's just one kind of girl.

"I guess Barbie could be different shapes and sizes but that's Barbie."

Her friend Hunter Kelley, also 16, agrees.

"Some people think it's stereotypical, but I think it's alright. You wouldn't want a Barbie that didn't look perfect, that's what so great about her," she said.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 08:15:17 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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