The Tale of Barbie



I had read a few articles about Barbies recently, some were surprising, some made sense, some were kind of disheartening. But mostly it reassured me that Barbie as a toy has a history that is explainable and mostly practical. I may have thought of writing an post about it but didn't know if anyone would be interested in reading it, till one of my friends on FB made a post.
The only fashion dolls I let my daughter have are the monster dolls. That way, if she ever comments on how skinny they are, I can say, "Thats because they're supposed to look dead."
That's when I let her know the few things I had found out about Miss Barbie, and decided to share what I've learned.

The Origin of Barbie

via flickr

Meet Bild Lilli, the doll that the original Barbie was modeled after. Bild Lilli was an adult gag toy in German. She was based off a comic strip about basically a gold digger. Her tag line was "whether more or less naked, Lilli is always discreet." She was a men's toy, she would be commonly be given during Bachelor parties.

Ruth Handler came across her during traveling and recalled her daughter Barbara and friends playing with paper dolls, making believing to be teenagers. She realized that there was nothing in between for girls to experiment with growing up. Dolls were baby dolls. She believed this make believe of playing with a grown body was important and she brought home Bild Lilli, well two, one for her daughter and one for her.

She then made some modifications to the doll design and introduced Barbie the Teen Age Fashion doll.


 Body Issues 

There has been a lot of talk over Barbie's curvy figure. There was even a study done that proved her unrealistic body is detrimental to a young girl's body image. Which when you consider the reason the maker brought Barbie to life is a little funny.

I mean Ruth Handler made Barbie to introduce girls into their growing bodies, what an adult body looks like, to let them make believe that in a safe way. Now fast forward a few decades and she actually makes some girls self esteem flounder cause they don't look like the completely unrealistic Barbie. No seriously if barbie were a person with those dimensions she wouldn't be able to support her own life, or even hold her head up.

One of the head designers told about Barbie's body though, and it make me go oh I get that. She said that basically Barbie is a clothing hanger, and yes while that sounds bad, give it a minute. She also goes on to say that though Barbie's shape has changed somewhat over the years she will never have a more realistic body (not that she was ever meant to) for one big reason.

Barbie is family

Barbie has history. Your mom probably had a Barbie, your grandma might have had one. Your aunt, your older cousin. She's been around for decades. While some of us may not have the Barbies of our youth, we might have their clothes, or vice versa. I have both.

Now I know you're probably rolling your eyes saying what does that have to do with anything?

Because they want you to do this! They want your old Barbies to be able to wear the newer clothes. They want you to be able to hand down your old Barbie clothes and them fit the newer Barbies. They want to keep this history of Barbie around. They want to make sure that you can share your Barbie with your kids, and your kids can share them with their kids.

That to me is a good reason for Barbie to have her unrealistic figure.

Also you know she is just a doll.  ^.^


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