This day (February 13th) in 1959
Barbie Millicent Roberts was born by Ruth Handler.
- How a cartoon prostitute was the inspiration for Barbie
“In 1956, Ruth Handler, an American businesswoman, was vacationing in Switzerland when she came across Bild Lilli, a doll that, unlike popular baby dolls at the time, had long, shapely legs and wore heavy makeup. Lilli, in fact, was based on a prostitute in a postwar German cartoon, but Handler was inspired. She bought three Lilli dolls, returned to California and in 1959 created the world’s first Barbie doll.”
She sold for $3.There has been some controversy over Barbie Doll’s figure .
If Barbie was a real person her measurements would be an impossible 36-18-38.
Barbie’s “real” measurements are 5 inches (bust), 3 ¼ inches (waist), 5 3/16 inches (hips). Her weight is 7 ¼ ounces, and her height is 11.5 inches tall.
In 1959 the Toy Industry drooled as they recognized the gigantic new puberty market of Baby Boomer kids…record toy sales for the past decade, and Mattel didn’t want to lose their best customers.
Barbie was hatched that year, and Boomer females have never been satisfied with their bodies since. Babs transcended dollhood and became a lifestyle, a role model to help adolescent girls make the painful transition to adulthood.
Barbie possessed everything an All-American girl could possibly desire: a perfect face, figure, hair, a fabulous wardrobe and an ideal boyfriend (Ken).
Barbie was the first doll with boobs, which seemed natural, since the sale of training bras increased by 50% in 1959 as the oldest Boomer girls turned 13 and began to notice serious changes in their anatomy. How could they compete with Barbie? At full scale, Babs’ measurements would have read: 40DD- 18- 26. Her breasts defied gravity and stuck out, high and well formed (and nippleless), and her exaggerated, hourglass waist could only have been achieved in the real world by the removal of a few ribs and vital organs. Barbie’s long, slender legs must have been achieved in a month on the Gitmo torture rack, or as the result of some terrible disease (which also caused her nipples to fall off?).
Nonetheless, every little Boomer girl in America simply had to own a Barbie and as many accessories as her parents would tolerate. Mattel’s production line could barely keep up with demand. They started the Barbie Fan Club, and soon membership exceeded that of the Girl Scouts of America.
Each subscriber received regular fan club letters with tips on how to become an all-American Dream Girl, and a complete shopping guide of the latest additions to Barbie’s wardrobe. Teenieboppers dropped all other dolls and concentrated on helping Barbie get ready for her next big date with Ken. In fact, Barbie’s entire schedule consisted of getting ready for dates, shopping, trying on new clothes and experimenting with new hairstyles and makeup. It is interesting to note that 1959 was also the year that Visa and Mastercharge cards were introduced.
Barbie’s life was not cluttered with any visible signs of education, marriage or career (until 1985, with Barbie’s “Home Office Center”), but no one seemed to wondered where she got all the money for her beautiful house, swimming pool, spa, horse, snazzy sports car, and more than a thousand expensive outfits. Perhaps Barbie was the mistress of a very wealthy man? What other job could she possibly qualify for that could earn her enough to maintain her luxurious lifestyle? Closer examination will dispel the mistress theory, however… Mattel neglected to provide Barbie with the physical equipment necessary to perform the duties of such an occupation. Ken has been the only guy to date Barbie during the past half century because he, too, has nothing going on below the waist or above the neck.
This vain, self-centered, materialistic, hollow-headed, sexless, cold, plastic princess served as the adult role model for little girls throughout the entire history of our generation. On her twenty-first birthday in 1980, 112 million Barbies had been sold…one for every American female.
With Barbie as a role model for little girls, and GI Joe for little boys, it’s amazing that the Baby Boomer Generation turned out as well as it did.
original article:The Constructive Anarchist
As much as I love the above article, as I admit I have a love/hate relationship ..I have to say, Barbie has come a long way since 1959.
Now in 2012 and beyond, perhaps there is hope that instead of glorifying the young and stupid,we,as a society, will be able to honor, respect and listen to the wisdom of our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers in order to learn and become leaders of the world, countries, cities, communities right down to our neighbourhoods…Leaders who lead with love instead of fear all the while loving our Goddess Self in all our Broad glory.
Happy Birthday! Broadbie:)