Barbie is a doll used as a children’s toy, whose creation dates from March 9, 1959, and is produced by Mattel. She was raised by businesswoman Ruth Handler and was based on the German doll Bild Lilli.
Since its launch, the doll has been considered the company’s most famous and profitable brand, to the point of being considered a great icon of the company and pop culture. Faced with its success the doll has received various collections, clothes, scenarios, and friends, as well as their own movies, comics, video games, and cartoons.
Around the 1950s, Ruth Handler and her husband Elliot Handler observed the behavior of their daughter Barbara who played only with paper dolls and commonly embodied them as adult dolls, because until then all the dolls manufactured in the States United were only representations of children. Ruth suggested to her husband (one of Mattel’s founders) the idea of creating an adult doll.
During her trip to Europe in 1959, Ruth met a German doll named Bild Lilli that had been circulating from 1955. The doll had the perfect proportions for what would be an adult doll, so Ruth bought 3 of them, giving one to her daughter and using the others to serve as the basis for creating her own doll. The Lilli doll originated from a newspaper comic in the German newspaper Bild, originally aimed at adult audiences.
When she returned to the United States, Ruth redesigned the doll with the help of designer Jack Ryan and gave her the name of her daughter Barbara, shortened as Barbie. The doll was officially launched at the New York Annual Toy Fair on March 9, 1959, a date that was also made official as the doll’s official birthday. The doll was sold for $3, in the first copies, which had 340,000 dolls. At first two versions of her being a brunette and another blonde were introduced, but then left her to look being blonde permanently. Faced with the immense success Barbie achieved worldwide, years later Mattel bought the rights to the Bild Lilli doll and she stopped being manufactured in 1964.
Since its creation was created new models of Barbies, with new clothes, hairstyles, and makeup, becoming more contemporary over the years. Very soon also began the development of her family in 1961 with the arrival of her boyfriend Ken, who alongside Barbie always accompanied the fashion of the time, varying the haircut according to the last style. In 1963 she welcomed her first friend, Midge (Viky, in the Brazilian version) and in 1964 Barbie received her first younger sister, Skipper. Both created in response to requests, to avoid a controversy that said that the doll was an s*x symbol.
Over the years Barbie received new friends besides Midge, the best known Teresa (1988), Summer (2004), Nikki (2006), Raquelle (2007) and Grace (2009). Barbie also welcomed other younger sisters such as twins Tutti and Todd (1966), Stacie (1990), Kelly (1995) and Krissy (1999). However, after various years, the sisters were reduced to just 3: Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea, the latter as Kelly’s replacement in 2009.
Since the early 2000s, the doll has become the protagonist of a long series of animated movies sold through DVDs, but also broadcast on television channels. In the United States, they have had various occasions that some movies were broadcast on channels such as Nickelodeon and Boomerang. In Brazil, movies have gone through channels such as Rede Globo, SBT and Cartoon Network (the latter two still remain broadcasting the movies quite often).