Barbie was created in 1959 after the Second World War. A glamorous teenage doll with a wardrobe that Mattel cleverly changed every season. The Matttel designer Ruth Handler named the doll after her daughter Barbara, who loved to dress her paper dolls.
Ruth Handler’s vision was to create a doll that inspired young girls to be ambitious, independent and confident. ‘Career’ Barbie dolls like the astronaut, nurse, doctor, air hostess and even the president, willed girls to believe they could achieve anything they wanted.
This interview discusses Barbie’s history and whether she has been portrayed as a feminist. Her image transformations have been designed to mirror society, and the identity changes that women have achieved each decade. Fashion plays a major role in communicating those changes.
Barbie will feature significantly in my talk: Dolls: Fashion Art and Culture