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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Barbie's Debut

March 9 is...
Barbie Day

[Be sure to scroll through the entire article for a surprise ending!]

Today is one of the few days of celebration to which a reason for this particular day actually exists. This Day in History, March 9, 1959, is the date when an 11-inch doll with a waterfall of blond hair made her debut, her name...Barbie!

Do you know the REAL Barbie? 

Bild Lilli Doll en.wikipedia.org
Barbie was designed after the German fashion doll, the Bild Lilli Doll, produced from 1955 to 1964. The German doll was based on the comic-stip character Lilli. The comic strip was about a "gold diggin' broad always on the hunt for a wealthy man." In the cartoon, "Lilli was post-war, sassy and ambitious, and had no reservations talking about sex." Lilli was classy, fashionable and desirable, much like Marlene Dietrich of the 1930s movies. 

On August 12, 1955, Lilli was first sold in Germany, usually in smoke shops and a few toy stores. This is the doll that Ruth Handler found while shopping in Europe in 1956. This was exactly what she had been thinking of producing in the U.S.

See any resemblance?
Barbie debuted in 1959 when she was introduced by Mattel at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Barbie as we know her was created by American business woman Ruth Handler having gotten her inspiration as mentioned earlier from the German Bild Lilli Doll. One rarely hears or reads about Barbie's true origins and the details reveal the look of a miniature German hooker. 

When we approach the image of Barbie from this standpoint, it makes one wonder what we are truly teaching our little girls. Amidst Barbie's plastic beauty has definitely been her share of criticism. Comparatively speaking, with a figure of 39-21-33 if she were a real woman, it is no wonder this little doll led to a lot of controversy. Many felt Barbie provided little girls with an unrealistic and harmful example thereby fostering a negative body image. The natural connection of doll-playing with imagery of mothering was shattered by the Barbie invasion of the 20th century.

Barbie has become a global icon of many faces with some body changes throughout her career. She has even acquired different cultural identities. Barbie remains, however, a fashion doll, unlike her predecessors, the baby dolls.

Barbie's Creator: Ruth Handler

The first Barbie Doll was introduced
in both blond and brunette in March 1959.

Pretty Changes Barbie 1978
A Barbie doll in a wedding dress,
like the one Madonna wore on the 1985 Virgin Tour.

Animal Loving Barbie

Barbie's Tropical Splash 1994
From 1959 - 1999
GREAT Slideshow!
Duchess of Diamonds Barbie 2001

Despite any criticism Barbie had, sales of Barbie-related merchandise continued to soar. By 1993, sales topped 1 billion dollars annually. Since 1959 more than 800 million dolls in the Barbie family have been sold around the world. Wouldn't you agree Barbie is now a bona fide global icon? I do believe she acquired that status decades ago!

Today, Barbie represents the epitome of the fashion model with faces of many Hollywood celebrities and recording artists, duchesses, princesses and queens. She traverses the globe as a peasant girl to city slicker to circus performer to representing Lady Liberty and so much more. She dons from the simplest of fashions to the glamorous and most elaborate unimaginable designs depicted throughout the decades since she first entered the scene. 

Lady Liberty 2000
Designed by Bob Mackie
Last, but not least, where would Barbie be without Ken? Take a close, long look at the photo below; then, prepare yourself for a shocker!

These are NOT dolls...plastic dolls anyway!
Meet the real-life Ken and Barbie who
'hate the sight of each other'!!

What are your experiences with the iconic Barbie doll?

Related Articles:

The Barbie Evolution: A comparison of the 90s to the 00s Barbie - butt, waist and boobs

Barbie Doll History: Barbie's face underwent major changes from 1959 to the 2000s.

Barbie, Fashion Icon of the 60s: Barbie's evolution physically 1959 to present  

What a Doll! -- The Astrological Story of Barbie


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