On this day 52 years ago, an 11-inch, blond doll named Barbara Millicent Roberts made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Created by Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel Inc., she was the first doll with adult features to be mass-produced in the United States. The doll was named after Handler’s daughter, Barbara, but the world knows her as Barbie.
In her original fictional biography published in the 1960s, she hailed from Wisconsin and attended high school there, but in a bit of revisionist history in 1999, she suddenly attended the fictional Manhattan International High School. Perhaps this is where the idea of “Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie” came from in 2009.
Common criticisms of Barbie’s unrealistic proportions (estimated at a 36-inch chest, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips) haven’t curbed sales. Since her introduction, more than 800 million dolls in the Barbie line have been sold around the world. As a personal observation, I have yet to see a Barbie who did not meet her inevitable end at the hands of a creative teenager armed with scissors, a lighter and a Sharpie.