here’s how the doll that never goes out of style has changed over the years

It is believed that three more Barbie dolls are sold in the world. This makes it the best-seller, surpassed only once by Elsa from the movie Frozen in 2014.

Her real name is Barbara Millicent Roberts and she was introduced to the world on March 9, 1959 at the American International Toy Fair in New York City wearing a black and white striped bathing suit with black high heels and a ponytail. pure style of the 60s, the era of women’s liberation.

It was created by North American businesswoman Ruth Handler, who, after studying the play patterns of her daughter (Barbie) and seeing that there was not a very wide range of dolls with adolescent bodies, wanted to create a three-dimensional toy that girls could also imagine with his future and took as inspiration the figure of a German adult doll.

Since then, it has been a success that for more than 60 years led the toy market in the world, renewed the orders of marketing, became a pop culture icon that inspired hundreds of artists, and did not stop generating controversy. His figure and lifestyle have been criticized for promoting unrealistic stereotypes among children around the world.

A market study conducted by Mattel in the late 1950s concluded that Barbie was criticized by mothers of the time for having “too big a figure”. The company got around this problem by advertising Barbie on TV as a children’s toy. In fact, Mattel became the first toy company to run commercials for children.

Her approximate measurements would be: 91cm bust, 46cm waist and 84cm hips, which would put Barbie under the recommended body mass index. Although he’s stuck with this figure for most of his life, part of Mattel’s commitment is to leave the door open for changes.

In 2016, the plastic girl presented herself with a new figure, a little stronger and “closer” to the reality of a healthy female body. To announce it, Barbie was on the cover of Times magazine under the headline “Now We Can Stop Talking About My Body: What Barbie’s New Shape Says About the American Figure.”

Barbie has also been heavily criticized for her materialism, as she hoarded cars, houses and clothes. However, many women who played with her saw her as an alternative to the restrictive gender roles of the 1950s.

“You can be whatever you want,” was the message Ruth Handler wanted to convey with her doll, inspiring girls around the world to make their dreams come true.

So far, he has had more than 200 professions, and even with some of them he has overtaken history. She got to the moon before Neil Armstrong, as astronaut Barbie hit the market in 1960, and in the 1990s was the first US president.

Despite the criticism, it cannot be ignored that Mattel – one of the most popular toy manufacturers in the world – is making efforts to promote diversity and inclusion through its toy line, changes that are evidenced in the brand’s latest collections, which characterized by their DNA of social inclusion.

“Barbie truly believes in the power of representation, and as the most diverse line of dolls on the market, we are committed to continuing to represent them with a range of skin tones, body types and disabilities to reflect the diversity children see in the world around them said Lisa McKnight, Mattel’s executive vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls.

“It’s important that children see themselves in the product and encourage play with dolls that don’t look like them to help them understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion.”

In 2018, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the “Sheroes” campaign was launched, which combines the words She and Heroes: she and heroes (in English) to recognize the contributions of 18 women who have made contributions to society and are fighting , to justify the role they played through their professions, achievements and activity.

The brand’s Fashionistas 2022 collection includes a hearing-impaired doll, another with a prosthetic leg, and a Ken doll with vitiligo, a skin condition characterized by loss of pigmentation in certain areas. In total, the collection now includes more than 175 dolls that are designed to reflect the true diversity that children see in the real world.

Barbie has appeared in more than 30 animated films since 1980, including Toy Story. In 2023, it will arrive for the first time in the flesh, in a film produced between Mattel and Warner Bros, and which will star actress Margot Robbie.

In 2020, the toy house unveiled Shakira and Jennifer Lopez Barbies following their Super Bowl halftime performance.

Photo: Special for El País

women who inspire

latinos in power:

Barbie was a pioneer in honoring celebrities and society heroines with her dolls. In 2020, the toy house unveiled Shakira and Jennifer Lopez Barbies following their Super Bowl halftime performance.

A dream come true:

This year, British primatologist Jane Goodall fulfilled her dream of having her own Barbie doll to inspire girls. Dressed in a khaki shirt and shorts, the doll carries binoculars and David Graybeard by her side, a replica of the first chimpanzee to trust her.

royal barbie:

“Since her coronation in 1953, the monarch’s extraordinary reign has been one of duty, humanitarian efforts and a life of public service, uniting her nation in celebration, reflection and community,” Mattel said at the unveiling of Barbie ‘Isabel II, 70 Years a Monarch’ on the throne.”

barbie 2

The Barbie Fashionistas line.

Photo: Special for El País

New era barbies included

The Barbie Fashionistas line includes Barbie with a cochlear implant, Ken with vitiligo, a new doll with a prosthetic leg, and new options for Ken with different hairstyles. In addition to new dolls with different body types, such as smaller bust, curvy and original, as well as a new Fashionista doll with limited mobility and in a wheelchair. The collection represents different backgrounds, races, communities and conditions.


Barbie ranks as the fourth most important toy brand in the world with a firm value of $588 million in 2022, according to the ranking of the “25 Most Valuable Toy Brands” by Brand Finance.

The Totally Hair Barbie is the best-selling doll to date. Her long, ankle-length blonde hair has been delighting girls ever since she hit the market 26 years ago.

The original price of the Barbie doll was 3 US dollars. The most expensive doll in history was sold in 2010 for 302,500 US dollars. She wore a one-carat pink diamond on her necklace, crafted by Australian jeweler Stefano Kantur.

With references ranging from US$20, Barbie is structured as the backbone of Mattel, accounting for up to 70% of total sales.

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