From Toy Shelves to Silver Screen: Barbie’s Evolving Story

barbie the movie dolls 2023

This year holds an exciting event for Barbie fans as the character makes her much-anticipated live-action debut. The long-awaited movie “Barbie“, featuring our favourite blonde fashion doll, will be hitting theaters on July 21, 2023. With this guide, we aim to provide you with all the essential knowledge and prepare you for the ultimate Barbie cinematic experience. So, buckle up and get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant and inspiring world of Barbie!

This comprehensive guide takes you on a journey through the iconic world of Barbie. From her humble origins as a groundbreaking doll that challenged traditional gender roles in the 1950s, to her evolution into a multi-faceted character with a broad career portfolio, Barbie has been an integral part of many childhoods for decades.

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We dive deep into the rich history of Barbie, exploring her transformations over time, her impact on society, and how she’s maintained her relevance in an ever-changing world.

The History of Barbie

Barbie, an 11.5-inch tall teenage fashion model doll, was introduced by American toy company Mattel, Inc. in 1959. The doll, named Barbie Millicent Roberts, was the brainchild of Ruth Handler, a co-founder of Mattel.

Inspired by her daughter Barbara’s play with paper dolls, Ruth conceived the idea of a three-dimensional doll that would represent an adult figure, unlike the baby dolls that were popular at the time.

Barbie doll from 1965
Barbie’s first clothing designer Charlotte Johnson posing with 1965 Barbie doll model. By Nelson Tiffany, Los Angeles Times

Barbie was initially received with skepticism by the industry, but it quickly became a sensation. By presenting Barbie as a doll that could play various roles, from fashion model to career woman, Mattel opened up endless play possibilities.

Barbie’s wardrobe, created by fashion designer Charlotte Johnson, originally included a vast array of dresses and ensembles, with more than 130 additional fashion designs sold separately in the first year alone.

How Barbie Has Maintained Her Relevance in an Ever-Changing World

barbie the movie

Barbie, as one of the world’s most popular and recognizable toys, has had to adapt to maintain her relevance in an ever-changing world. Here are a few key ways Barbie has evolved to remain relevant:

Diversity and Inclusion

Originally, Barbie was modeled after a white woman with unattainably perfect proportions. Criticism over the years pushed Mattel, the company that manufactures Barbie, to make significant changes.

Today, Barbie comes in a variety of body types, skin tones, hair textures, and abilities to more accurately reflect the diverse world we live in. They’ve released dolls with disabilities, including a doll in a wheelchair and one with a prosthetic leg, as well as dolls representing various ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and professions.

Representation of Women in Various Professions

Barbie has also evolved to challenge gender norms by representing various professions. From astronaut Barbie in 1965, to president Barbie in 1992, to robotics engineer Barbie in 2018, Mattel has sought to inspire young girls by demonstrating that they can aspire to any career path.

Educational Content

Barbie has been utilized as a teaching tool, and the brand often aligns with educational initiatives. There are numerous books, websites, and YouTube videos (like “Barbie Vlogs”) that are meant to impart positive values, educate about different cultures and professions, and teach life skills.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Barbie has stayed relevant by collaborating with popular brands, designers, celebrities, and artists. For instance, Mattel has released Barbie dolls in collaboration with fashion houses like Moschino and Versace, and characters from popular culture and movies.

Sustainability Initiatives

In recent years, Mattel has also introduced eco-friendly initiatives in response to growing environmental concerns. This includes a commitment to use 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials in all their products and packaging by 2030.

Digital Presence

Barbie has a substantial digital presence, with online games, streaming shows, and apps. This helps the brand stay connected with its young audience who are increasingly engaged in the digital world.

Social Issues Advocacy

Barbie has started to engage with social issues more proactively. For instance, the brand has released dolls that celebrate influential figures such as civil rights activist Rosa Parks and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, helping to educate children about these figures’ contributions.

By continually adapting and changing, Barbie has managed to remain a relevant and beloved toy for generations. The brand has used its platform to promote positive change and inclusivity, helping it to maintain its position in the market.

Barbie Best Sellers 2023

Here are some of the most popular Barbie dolls that have been consistently best-sellers:

1. Barbie Fashionista Dolls

Barbie Fashionista dolls 2023

This series was a hit because it championed diversity and inclusivity, offering Barbies in various body types, skin tones, and hairstyles. The Fashionista line aimed to reflect the world girls see around them and has had positive feedback for its representation.

2. Holiday Barbie

holiday Barbie

The annual tradition of releasing a new Holiday Barbie started in 1988 and it has been a best-seller every year. Each doll is unique, often adorned with elegant gowns and intricate detailing to celebrate the season.

3. Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures Doll

Based on the popular animated series “Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures“, this Barbie doll comes with fun accessories like a travel mug and backpack to allow children to enact everyday adventures and scenarios.

4. Barbie Made to Move Dolls

barbie made to move

These Barbies were popular for their flexibility and range of motion. The Made to Move Barbies have 22 “joints” — in the neck, upper arms, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, upper legs, knees AND ankles — for an incredible range of movement!

5. Barbie Career Dolls

Barbie career doll

These Barbies were well-received because they show Barbie in various professional roles, such as a doctor, astronaut, firefighter, chef, and more. It’s an inspiring range that encourages kids to imagine all the careers they might pursue.

New Barbie The Movie Collection

barbie the movie dolls online 2023

A fresh range of toys drawing influence from Mattel’s array of brands and the eagerly awaited Barbie™ film has just hit the market. The imminent Barbie™ movie, developed in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures, will be screening in cinemas all over the country starting July 21st.

barbie the movie dolls 2023

The Barbie™ movie-themed dolls encapsulate the aesthetic that movie-goers will witness, echoing the distinctive styles of Barbie, Ken, and additional characters as they journey through Barbie Land and further.

The range mirrors the unique Barbiecore™ and Ken-ergy™ experienced in the film, from their initial outfits to the corresponding sets worn in the movie. The collection’s highlights are a variety of familiar and essential accessories, featuring a miniature model of the three-story DreamHouse™ from MEGA and a spectacular pink RC Corvette® from Hot Wheels.

Milestones of Barbie

  • 1959: Barbie debuts at the New York Toy Fair.
  • 1965: Barbie gets her first career as an astronaut, four years before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
  • 1971: Barbie’s eyes shift from looking sideways to looking straight ahead, symbolizing her focus on the future.
  • 1980: The first Black and Hispanic Barbie dolls are launched.
  • 1988: The Barbie line expands with the debut of the Barbie Midge Wedding Day Set.
  • 1992: Barbie runs for President for the first time.
  • 2000: Barbie gets a new body mold, giving her a more athletic physique.
  • 2010: Barbie’s 50th anniversary is marked by the opening of a real-life Barbie Dreamhouse in Malibu.
  • 2016: Mattel introduces Barbie dolls with various body types, skin tones, eye colors, and hairstyles, reflecting diversity and inclusivity.
  • 2020: Mattel releases a Barbie honoring the frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

10 Less-Known Facts about Barbie

  • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  • She hails from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin.
  • Barbie has had over 200 inspirational careers, including astronaut, firefighter, journalist, video game developer, and robotics engineer.
  • The most expensive Barbie ever sold was a version designed by Australian jewelry designer Stefano Canturi, adorned with diamond jewelry. It was sold for $302,500 at auction in 2010.
  • Barbie has a LinkedIn profile, where she is listed as an “Entrepreneur, Businesswoman, Activist.”
  • Barbie was not Mattel’s first doll. The company initially made picture frames, and later, dollhouse furniture.
  • The first Barbie doll sold for $3 in 1959.
  • There’s a Barbie-only magazine, initially released in 1993.
  • Barbie’s proportions have changed over time to promote more realistic body images.
  • The first Barbie commercial aired during the Mickey Mouse Club in 1959.

Barbie FAQs

Who invented Barbie?

Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, Inc., invented Barbie.

When was the first Barbie made?

The first Barbie was made in 1959.

What was the inspiration for Barbie?

The inspiration for Barbie came from Ruth Handler observing her daughter Barbara playing with paper dolls.

What was Barbie’s first job?

Barbie’s first job, as shown in the initial product line, was a fashion model. However, the first occupation-themed Barbie was an astronaut, released in 1965.

How many different Barbies have been made?

Over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold in approximately 150 countries, and Mattel releases many new designs each year.

What is the most expensive Barbie ever sold?

The most expensive Barbie ever sold was designed by Stefano Canturi for $302,500 in 2010.

Does Barbie have any siblings?

Yes, Barbie has several fictional siblings, including Skipper, Stacie, Chelsea, Krissy, Kelly, and Todd.

Has Barbie’s figure changed over time?

Yes, Barbie’s figure has evolved over time to reflect societal changes in the perception of body image. In 2016, Mattel introduced a range of Barbies with different body types, including tall, petite, and curvy.

What was the purpose of the Barbie doll?

The purpose of the Barbie doll was to provide children with a doll that represented an adult figure, offering a different kind of play that could project the child’s aspirations for the future.

Why is Barbie named Barbie?

Barbie was named after Ruth Handler’s daughter, Barbara.

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