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The History Of The Barbie Doll English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2599 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Barbie was originally a children’s toy, particularly for girls and boys of 3 – 13 years, and now also it is the most collectable object of adults. It was first released in 1959, in the U.S. Wisconsin. Her “mom” is Ruth Handler. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

For the first time Barbie has appeared on children’s products trade fair in New York (1959). Ruth Handler developed its stenographers company «Mattel»; considered that the prototype of the famous doll became Build Lilly, the heroine of erotic comics that were published in the newspaper «Bild Zeitung» (Germany): “… [Lilly], with a perfect figure, regular features and bright makeup, epitomized the typical image of the vamp. Lilly doll depicting “mannequin” is reminiscent of earlier models Barbie. “Predecessors” called it popular in the 40’s and 50 years, paper dolls with a lot of clothes – according to Handler, in childhood, her daughter Barbara (in whose honor was named the Barbie) is often “played with dolls with her friends, they were paper dolls -” adult “and the girls presented themselves in the adult life “the girl, then business women, the mothers (…) definitely feel the need for dolls … that would introduce the young lady to many things so attractive for them in the adult world.”

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The first Barbie was worth only $ 3.00 and she was dressed in black and white striped bathing suit (dress for the doll should be purchased separately), it has been tightened in the “pony tail” blond hair and black eyes. First, consumers reacted warily to the new product – at the time the doll looked pretty defiant, but soon it became incredibly popular among schoolgirls. In selling a host of various costumes and accessories for Barbie, in 1961 it “has acquired a” boyfriend (Ken), two years later – the friend of Midge (Midge) and little sister Skipper (Skipper). Appearance of varies of dolls – when the first Barbie in 1959 looked quite mature woman, by the end of the 60’s it becomes a pretty girl, a teenager and puts on “hippie” outfits, as stated in Barbie’s beginning. Appear more and more relatives and friends – her cousin Francie, sister Tutti, a friend of Christie (black), an Englishwoman Stacy. In the 60 years of Barbie, she acquires “dream home” in the 70 – a car. Then appears Barbie-singer (1961), Barbie-nurse (1961), Barbie stewardess (1966), Astronaut Barbie (1965 – 20 years before the space flight of the first female American!), Barbie – a presidential candidate (1991) … In 1980 the company “Mattel” was represented by a series of collectible “dolls of the world” – it included more than 20 Barbie in the national costumes of various countries, as described in The history of Barbie dolls. Also there were sold the dolls – twins celebrities: Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, Whitney Houston, TV presenter Rosie O’Donnell.

Waist of the Barbie markedly increased, compared with the first versions of the dolls.

Growth of Barbie is 29 cm, its proportion in relation to “our”, the real world – 1:6. Experts estimate that if Barbie was a man, then with an increase of about 170 cm, her weight would be slightly less than 50 kg, the volume of the breast – 99 cm, waist – 45 cm, hips – 84 cm, often the creators were accused of Barbie because of an unnatural beauty that for many has become the standard, contributing to the spread of such disorders as anorexia and bulimia – Barbie fans, in order to become like his idol, sit on starvation diets, spend money on plastic surgery. American Cindy Jackson has made 29 plastic surgeries to become the “same” as Barbie – as a result, of her “own” a woman has left only the lower lip. Heeding the voice of outraged public (politician Jeff Eldridge generally proposed to ban sale of Barbie in the shops), the company “Mattel” in 2000 changed the proportions of several puppets – in particular, it reduced the bust.

Today, Barbie products are very wide and diverse; there are many models of the famous doll and her family and friends, a great number of various accessories that are sold and also there are computer games on Barbie. According to the official version, the “mother-creator of” Barbie is an American Ruth Handler, who in the late 50’s decided to give her daughter something of such things, toy, which never saw the light and happiness to come up with a likeness of her – a small plastic doll “a woman.” However, it was not all that easy. Puppet Professor MG Lord wrote: “The direct predecessor of Barbie doll was Lilly, a toy for adult men, which had its origin from the post-war comic book character in the Bild Zeitung – low-grade German newspaper … In comics Lilly was not just a doll, she was German doll: blindingly white hair, regular features – the ideal of the Aryan race!”. Lilly of the Bild Zeitung first appeared on July 24, 1952.

Comics about sexy Aryan were so popular that soon their heroine with a light hand designer toys reincarnated into a little doll with a mouth-watering shapely legs. And this doll in no way was intended for children. It was sold not in the toy stores, but in tobacco shops. In the words of the Lord, the toy “was a caricature, comic gift for men.” Ruth Handler first saw Lilly in Switzerland, where she spent the holidays. “We were walking down the street, glanced into the shop, and there in my face was an amazing doll with face and body of woman” – reverently remembers the main business is the moment of his life Ruth. Toy-woman impressed Handler so much, that she bought just three Lilly: two for her daughter Barbra, and certainly one for herself …

Back in the U.S., Ruth decided to devote newfound idol all her life – namely, to adapt a purchase for the U.S. market. But, as always, the first attempts were a drop in the ocean because of consumer indifference. And that, in general, is understandable – after all, the plastic girl was meant for entirely different category of buyers. Fuel to the fire was added by the designer, Jack Ryan, whom Ruth Handler asked for help. The result is a very good remake – Americanized Lilley, under the new, now famous worldwide name, which debuted at the Toy Fair in New York in the winter of 1959. True, there it was carefully advertised as “the only anatomically perfect doll that is made today.”

Children initially perceived Barbie with wary. Men-critics immediately started talking about it as “a predatory woman,” “empty-headed girl.” And asserted that “mothers never will buy it for their children the dolls with breasts”, as Barbie was “too sexy” to sell it freely … In general, it mounted to the doll’s own unrealized fantasies. It is clear that after such “dithyrambs” even for three dollars (a ridiculous price for the Americas) people did not want to buy Barbie. 

Of course, Ruth Handler hurried! Very soon, the fathers and mothers appreciated the charm of a new toy, because it was possible to play for them too. It was a real triumph for Ms. Handler. It was not long, and the Americans “on fire”, “tried and accustomed” to Barbie. Toy has become not just a hit, but the phenomenon on the market. America, followed by the rest of the world had a fever. Already some five years after the launch sales of toys counted in the millions. Like mushrooms after the rain grew Barbie fan clubs, not only in the U.S. and Europe, but even in Muslim countries, where the severity of manners was such that the doll was imported there smuggling.

And, of course, many have realized that Barbie can be a good idea to earn extra money: and many started working in the sweat of their brow for doll clothing manufacturers, supplying for the Barbie so magnificent and varied wardrobe, which cuts into the memory of a girl, even with a complete lack of imagination. Toy was blonde and chic; the outfits were cheap, only the first time while she was in the promotion, as sales exceeded “normal rate of sale, wedding dress plastic was worth $ 35. And off we go: home, furniture, dishes, car, bike, friends and even the horses … Complete collection of Barbie costs now more than 1000 dollars.

Shortly before Christmas 1964, when Barbie was advertised as the best gift for girls, the American Newspaper Saturday Evening Post dubbed it “highly mercantile special.” “Anyone who tries to find some more substantial value in a Barbie world, searching for them is not there” – the newspaper wrote. – “With his passion to possess, with its worship of the external glitter of Barbie, this America in miniature is a thin parody of our eternal pursuit of material and trivial.”

Yes, America and Barbie can really put an equal sign. A small idol of American pop culture in 1976 was sealed in a special “time capsule”, which should be revealed only through two centuries. It was the apotheosis of the plastic. This toy has gained eternity. Barbie surrounded herself with the heroes of the partner. In her house you can play with serious drama of life – love, happiness, death …

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“Mom” of Barbie in the mid-40’s discovered a company for manufacturing of wooden frames for paintings. As a husband Ruth Elliot thought: why throw the remnants of wood, if they can earn? She was so fond of watching her daughter Barbara playing with her dolls and arranges them in matchboxes and dice tables and beds! Dwarf lockers and beds have been more marketable commodity than the frame.

  In 1956 Ruth Handler went to rest in Switzerland. There she first saw the unusual doll, which everyone called Lilly. She looked pretty vulgar: bleached blonde with candid forms and not less than candid wardrobe. But just looking at her, Ruth pondered over the fact that children probably were tired of playing only in the “Mothers and Daughters”. Ruth decided to make a doll for them, which would be their dream come true in their adult life. Then Ruth bought the copyrights to Lilly and uploaded by the best technicians, artists and engineers, the company of her husband Mattel, so they transformed the Lilley in the positive in all respects beauty. Creating a Barbie, Ruth had a sociological study. She invited 100 mothers and 100 girls of different ages, so that they looked at the novelty and expressed their views. Almost all mothers were against it: “Barbie seems too naturalistic, so to play with this doll is harmful to the psyche of children.” But all the girls in one voice declared that they want to own such a doll! And Ruth decided to listen to children: “Lips of infant speak the truth.”

At this time in Hollywood roared the name of sex bomb Jayne Mansfield. Barbie was originally this way – a busty, blond, upturned eyebrow-strings, bright red full lips. The first clothes for Barbie were ordered from famous designers Givenchy and Dior. In 1958 Mrs. Handler officially patented her invention. The doll was not like any of those who have ever been created in the New World. The doll was named in honor of the inventor’s daughter Barbara. Thus was born the Barbie doll.

In 1959, during New York’s annual fair of toys, Mattel first showed the world his new creation – the leggy doll with a well-developed forms, makeup, bright nail varnish and pearl earrings. On Beauty was an elegant striped swimsuit, stressing her chest, and open sandals on high heels. New toy was offered in two versions: a blonde and a brunette.

    Wholesale buyers were not interested in the doll. They were confident that American parents would never buy their babes such a doll. Then Ruth decided to roll out a toy with a TV. And advertising acted: States the scope of this started the Barbie mania. The first batch of busty girls (351 each) valued at $ 3, and were sold out instantly. From that moment began the march of big breasts, long-legged beauties with wasp waist around the world.

    Ruth decided not to be restricted to one Barbie. Now four beautiful sisters, a brother and two cousins and girlfriends, and the same animals were created. The larger family – the more money there comes. After all, for each new model was offered a new wardrobe and a set of new car, desirable change furniture in the house and much more (it all depends on what American women are living in the moment). For example, when Jane Fonda came up with aerobics and enthusiasm swept the country, Mattel released a cassette with the appropriate exercises for Barbie.

First the friend of the Barbie was a handsome guy with muscle. Ruth invented Ken probably at the behest of the maternal instinct: she wanted make him for centuries, also using the name of her son Kenneth.  And later, a divorced mother of two children, Barbara Handler Segal said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times: “I’m tired of being Barbie doll.”

After much debate considering the way Barbie looked, it was decided to put on Ken permanent shorts with natural bumps where necessary. But as a result of a lining in a factory-producer, Ken was born castrated. During the first ten years, thanks to Barbie, in the pockets of the spouses of handlers settled $ 500 million. In 1993, Barbie has brought the family $ 1 billion, and in 1994 – over two billion. According to experts, the doll is a list of twenty most popular goods in the world. Today, per capita American girl’s population has more than a dozen Barbie dolls as much – in Italy and France – to seven, and in England – approximately 5 dolls. There are sold annually around 20 million Barbie dolls, and collectors pay for the first Barbie in 1959, which cost in those days two and a half dollar, up to 2 thousand dollars.  In Hawaii there is a museum of Barbie. In England, a suburban town for Manchester, there is built whole street houses a la Barbie. Here it is, the American dream in a classic design: start with wooden frames and complete worldwide fame and million accounts in banks around the world.

All in all, Barbie doll has become for several generations, not just a toy, and the image-symbol, whose value depends on the individual’s attitude toward this doll. For some people it is the embodiment of sexuality without love and irrepressible desire for consumption (after all, for it there were produced thousands of different accessories and gorgeous clothes!). While for others it is the epitome of beauty and love of life, this doll encourages someone’s creativity and someone does not want it, and probably will be right those who say: but if this entire doll is haunted by almost half a century, then, something special it has. “History of the Barbie doll continues, and although it appeared – and continues to emerge – it is still a strong competitor in the global market of toys for girls, as it is unlikely for the other doll to be able to repeat its phenomenal rise to world fame.


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