Fashion doll Barbie celebrates 60 years
Fashion doll and cultural icon Barbie celebrates her 60th anniversary in March and remains the most popular fashion doll ever produced, with 100 dolls still being sold every minute. Launched at the New York Toy Fair in 1959 as a blond, white-skinned, thin teen, the manufacturer Mattel Inc has created a new collection of dolls to mark the milestone. These dolls are versions of inspirational women who Mattel has said remain under-represented in careers of astronaut, pilot, athlete, journalist, politician, and firefighter. Other versions are based on real people, including Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka and British model and activist Adwoa Aboah.
Over six decades, Barbie has taken on more than 200 careers from surgeon to video game developer since her debut. After this fashion doll was accused of perpetuating insecurities and gender stereotypes with her impossible proportions and white beauty ideals, Mattel added black Barbies before any other dollmaker (in 1980), curvy, petite and tall versions in an assortment of skin tones, eye colors and hairstyles (in 2016) and ‘role model’ Barbies for International Women’s Day. Two disabled dolls are due for release in June 2019, one that uses a wheelchair and another with a prosthetic leg that is removable. Mattel hopes the collection will help to broaden the definition of what is considered beautiful.