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On this day-History-9 March

 The Barbie doll launched for the first time

8 March, 1959

On this day in history, at the American Toy Fair in New York City, the first Barbie doll  was put on the display for the first time. Eleven inches tall, with smooth and waterfall like blond hairs, Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll with adult features in the United States. 

The idea of Barbie was of Ruth Handler, she co-founded Mattel, Inc. with her husband in 1945. Handler had a young daughter who ignored her baby dolls to play make-believe with paper dolls of adult women, Handler realized that there was an important niche in the market for a toy with the help of which little girls could imagine the future. 

The first appearance of Barbie was modelled on a doll named Lilli, this doll was based on a German comic strip character. At first the doll was marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men in tobacco shops but later the Lilli doll became extremely popular among the children. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli doll and produced its own version, which Handler named after her daughter, Barbara. In 1955 Mattel owned the sponsorship of the popular TV programme "Mickey Mouse Club", this made Mattel to become the first toy company to broadcast commercial to children, this medium was then used to promote their new toy. By 1961, the Barbie doll was in the list of almost every child and adult, the enormous demand for the doll led Mattel to release a boyfriend for Barbie, which Handler named as Ken, after her son. In 1963 Barbie's best friend, Midge was launched and the following year her sister Skipper debuted in the market. 

Years passed and Barbie generated huge sales and lots of controversy. As the doll has had a series of different jobs, from pilots, astronaut, airline stewardess and doctor to Olympic athlete and even United States presidential candidate, many women saw the doll as providing an alternative to traditional 1950s gender roles. Others thought Barbie is encouraging kids to be materialistic by its never ending supply of designer outfits, cars and "Dream-Houses". What made the most controversy was Barbie's appearance, her tiny waist and enormous breasts that if she was a real woman, her measurement would be 36-18-38, many claimed that Barbie provided little girls with an unrealistic and harmful example and fostered negative body image.

Despite controversies and criticism, sales of Barbie dolls continued to increase rapidly and by 1993 it topped at 1 billion dollars annually. Today Barbie is now a bona fide global icon.    


On this day in 1959, popular doll Barbie was first debuted in the display at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The idea of Barbie came when the co-founder of Mattel, Inc, Ruth Handler found her child ignoring paper dolls of adult women to play make-believe games. The first Barbie appearance was modelled on a doll named Lilli and after that several dolls in the Barbie doll family were debuted in the market. In 1993 the Barbie dolls made the sale of 1 billion dollars annually and today the Barbie doll is a bona fide global icon.

On this day- March 8


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