Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 9: Barbie

On this date in History .... 1959:

Barbie is displayed for the first time at the American Toy Fair in New York.  She was the first mass-produced doll in the U.S. with adult features.

The co-founder of Mattel, Ruth Handler, realized there was a niche to be filled in the toy market when she observed her daughter throwing aside baby dolls to play with adult-women-paper-dolls instead.

Mattel became a sponsor of “The Mickey Mouse Club” show on TV, Mattel became the first toy company to target and create commercials for children.

By 1961, the high demand for Barbie practically forced Mattel to create a boyfriend for her. Handler named him “Ken” after her own son.

Barbie endured a lot of pro and con controversy.  On the one hand, she was the first material girl with her Dream House, Dream Car and extensive wardrobe.  On the other hand, she was a role model that broke the stereotype of the 1950s woman with her multitude of jobs that even broke gender barriers, such as astronaut and doctor. 

Since the first Barbie hit the market, over 800 million Barbie family members have been sold around the world.

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