April 9, 2007
Collectible Dolls - Barbie
In this article we’re going to cover what is arguably the most famous collectible doll in all of history, Barbie.
If you were a little girl growing up in the early 60s you had a Barbie Doll. If you didn’t, you were just plain strange. Barbie had to be the biggest craze of the era and the doll is still going strong as of this writing in 2006.
The Barbie Doll was first invented by a lady named Ruth Handler, who was actually a cofounder of the popular toy company Mattel. Ruth’s daughter was named Barbara and yes, that is where she got the name for the Barbie Doll. Barbie was first shown to the world at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The doll was made for the purpose of being a teenage fashion doll. In the early days, when we were pretty uptight about sex, there was some controversy over Barbie’s figure. People realized that if Barbie was a real person her measurements would be 36-18-38, which is virtually impossible for any girl to strive for and there were fears that this would cause major psychological problems for young girls, not to mention the insane expectations boys would have of finding someone who actually looked like that. To make matters worse, after Barbie was made, a boyfriend was then made for her. His name was Ken, named after Ruth’s son, and was equally unrealistic as far as looks, though maybe not as bad as Barbie.
Needless to say, the doll was an immediate hit. The first Barbie dolls were pretty stiff but in 1965 Barbie finally got legs that could bend. Again, she could bend in ways that no real person could hope to do. This only added more fuel to the sexuality fire.
Over the years there were more variations of Barbie than you could count. Many different outfits were made for her in that time. Barbie herself had over 80 careers from nurse to rock star to even president. Barbie was a very successful gal. Her very first career however was as a teenage fashion model, which is what she was originally designed for. From there, things just took off. In 1964, back during a time when girls didn’t normally go to school past high school, Barbie went to college. The first Olympic Barbie was made in 1975 and popped up again in 2000.
Probably one of the more controversial Barbie Dolls came out in 1992 when Barbie joined the military as a medic in Operation Desert Storm. The entire military series of Barbie Dolls actually went through Pentagon approval to make sure that the uniforms were as authentic as possible.
But the military wasn’t the last of Barbie’s adventures. Barbie was also made into an astronaut in three different years, the last one being in 1994.
In the years following her first appearance in 1959, Barbie has always kept up with the times and Mattel has always tried to make her accessories as complete as possible, even giving her pets which included 21 dogs, 12 horses, 3 ponies, 6 cats, a parrot, a chimpanzee, a panda, a lion cub, a giraffe and a zebra.
Barbie’s figure may have not been real, but no doll in history was ever more completely thought out. Barbie has been an inspiration to young girls now for over 40 years and her popularity doesn’t seem to be anywhere near fizzling out.
Your Independent guide to Collectible Dolls