7 Reasons Barbie Isn’t Only About Being Blonde and Wearing Pink
Since her debut in 1959, Barbie has become an enduring icon with a recognition rate of 98%, surpassing even Elizabeth II. Although criticized for her unrealistic body shape, Barbie was a groundbreaking toy that paved the way in various aspects.
Barbie was the first doll not to imitate a baby.
Prior to the launch of Barbie, girls’ toys primarily consisted of baby dolls like Betsy Wetsy, Tiny Tears, and Chatty Cathy, which reinforced the societal expectation that girls would become caring mothers.
Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie, observed that girls weren’t satisfied with just playing the role of a mother with their dolls while watching her daughter and her friends. So, she came up with the idea of Barbie, a fashionable and attractive teenager who had her own job, apartment, and car, rejecting the traditional image of a woman as a homemaker. Surprisingly, Barbie’s sales increased dramatically, as little girls found her more appealing than the traditional baby dolls.
Barbie’s range of careers were groundbreaking for women at the time.
Barbie was introduced in 1959, a time when it was considered inappropriate for women to work, let alone for girls to aspire to have a career. But Barbie broke that mold, as she had her own job as a fashion model. In her early years, she also had a variety of other careers that were groundbreaking for women, including a Business Executive (a powerful position for a woman at the time), a presidential candidate (long before women could actually run for president), and an astronaut (Barbie landed on the moon 4 years before Neil Armstrong did).
Barbie’s recent professions include game developer, lab scientist, and robotics engineer — fields that are still predominantly male-dominated. Barbie’s various careers have had a significant impact on how women can work, gain independence, and take charge of their lives. She has inspired young girls to pursue diverse career paths.
Diversity was always an important goal for Barbie.
Mattel, the company that created Barbie, introduced African-American dolls early on. These black dolls, who were Barbie’s friends, have been available since 1967, as a statement during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. In 1980, the first Black Barbie arrived, complete with a curly afro and a ruby red dress.
Nowadays, Mattel has taken steps to increase inclusivity and representation by introducing dolls with more realistic body sizes and disabilities. Modern Barbie is available in several body types and skin tones, and can also be bald, wear a hijab, have a prosthetic leg, have vitiligo, or use a wheelchair. Barbie dolls now represent a wider range of identities, making it possible for everyone to see themselves in a Barbie.
Barbie demonstrates that it’s possible to be both attractive and have aspirations.
Not too long ago, girls who were beautiful, liked pink, and had blonde hair were often stereotyped as shallow and not taken seriously about their career aspirations. However, Barbie was the first doll to challenge this notion by demonstrating that girls could be both attractive and ambitious, have refined tastes, and enjoy dressing up, glamour, and glitz.
Since her introduction, Barbie has pursued over 200 different careers, making her one of the most accomplished individuals in the world. By encouraging girls to believe in themselves and promoting both self-acceptance and self-reinvention, Barbie has become a symbol of empowerment for girls everywhere.
Barbie helps children learn about women’s history.
Mattel has introduced the “Sheroes” and “Inspiring Women” series, which feature dolls modeled after famous women such as artist Frida Kahlo, astronaut Sally Ride, first female aviator Amelia Earhart, and Olympian gymnast Gabby Douglas, among others. You can have a closer look at the dolls in this article. These dolls provide young girls with inspiring and real-life role models, highlighting women’s contributions to science, culture, and history. Barbie plays a vital role in educating children about women’s history through these series.
Barbie utilizes her platform to raise awareness on certain topics.
You may not expect it, but Barbie actually has a vlog on YouTube. In her videos, she takes part in popular YouTube challenges and talks about a variety of topics, from baking to mental health. In fact, in one video series, Barbie addresses the “dream gap,” a phenomenon where girls start to doubt their abilities as early as six years old, and provides tips on how to regain their confidence. Barbie uses her platform to tackle difficult issues and inspire young girls to be confident and strong.
Additionally, Barbie uses her platform to promote various good causes, such as conservation, through a collaboration with National Geographic.
Barbie has never been married.
The creator of Barbie intentionally made Ken her boyfriend and companion, but never her husband, as Barbie was always meant to be the main character. Although Barbie and Ken had an on-and-off relationship since 1961, they officially broke up in 2004 due to Ken’s commitment issues. However, Barbie was busy running for president that same year, indicating that she had no time for relationship drama.
Barbie’s unmarried status and unique identity as the world’s most famous doll set a positive example for everyone, normalizing independence and individuality.
If you want to see Barbie dolls inspired by famous people like Jennifer Lopez, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, go to this article.