Barbie: Teenage Fashion Model
Early in 1959 a new toy that would later be loved by millions was shown to the world. Her name was Barbie. Ruth Handler created Barbie because she felt that young girls needed something to play with besides baby dolls or paper dolls. Handler wanted little girls to be able to imagine what their lives would be like when they got older. For over 40 years girls have loved Barbie unconditionally. What is it about this doll that makes her so wonderful? It’s precisely because she has a figure unlike the baby dolls, and she has her own unique history.
Barbie was partially inspired by a doll/ cartoon with a bad reputation. Her name was Lilli. In 1952 a cartoonist named Reinhard Beuthien designed Lilli for an adult newspaper article called Bild Zeitung. Ruth Handler came across the Lilli doll while on a trip in Germany. The Lilli doll was almost exactly what Handler wanted Barbie to look like. Handler came up with the idea for Barbie when she saw her daughter, Barbara, whom Barbie was named after, playing with flimsy paper dolls. Handler wanted to design the doll as a teen. The only other 3D toys were baby dolls and the TV character Howdy Doody. Other dolls could burp, crawl or cry, but Barbie had a figure.
In order for Barbie to be as real as possible, Handler created her own history. Barbie’s full name was Barbie Millicent Roberts. She was born in Willows Wisconsin and attended Willows High School. Her first job was as a teenage fashion model. She has had more than 80 occupations including an astronaut, surgeon, Olympic athlete, vetrinarian, news reporter, doctor, UNICEF Ambassador, Marine Corps sergeant, presidential candidate, police officer, and paleontologist. Barbie was sold without parents, but in 1961 she had a little sister named Skipper. Barbie also had a boyfriend named Ken, who was named after Handler’s son. Barbie and Ken dated for 43 years and broke up in 2004. Barbie has never been officially married....