After years of films primarily based on comedian books, board video games, and motion figures, it is lastly Barbie’s flip to shine. The “Barbie” film, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, is ready to take the summer time by storm, with a unusual tackle the character that pays homage to the franchise’s decades-long historical past. Simply how a lot do you actually find out about this extremely modern toy icon? Have a look again at her historical past to search out out.

Is Barbie Primarily based on a Actual Particular person?

As revealed in Time, Ruth Handler, an American businesswoman, apparently bought the concept for Barbie in 1956, when she noticed Bild Lilli, a German grownup novelty toy primarily based on a well-liked, reasonably saucy comic-strip character of the time. So, no, Barbie is just not primarily based on an actual individual, however her identify was impressed by somebody actual (extra on that later).

When Is Barbie’s Birthday?

Based on Barbie’s official “biography” from Mattel, Barbie’s birthday is March 9. The day marks the date again in 1959 when the primary Barbie was unveiled on the New York Toy Truthful.

How Outdated Is Barbie?

Mattel debuted Barbie in March 1959, which means she’s a “senior citizen” now, celebrating her sixty fourth anniversary earlier this yr. Since then, Barbie has change into a cultural icon, spinning off quite a few different characters together with video video games, films, books, and different content material.

Barbie’s precise age has diversified through the years. She’s been portrayed as younger as 19 years outdated, however she’s additionally famously depicted as knowledgeable girl inspiring children in additional than 250 careers and counting.

Barbie’s Full Identify

Mattel provides Barbie’s full identify as Barbara Millicent Roberts, with “Barbie,” after all, being quick for “Barbara.” She was named after creator Ruth Handler’s daughter, Barbara (and Ken was named after Handler’s son, Kenneth). A second character, with the very same identify, was launched in 2021. Dubbed “Brooklyn Barbie,” this Barbie is a Black girl who befriends “original” blond Barbie once they meet in New York.

Does Barbie Have Siblings?

In official Barbie lore, Barbie is the oldest of 4 sisters: Skipper (initially depicted as somewhat woman however now depicted as a teen), Stacie (formally 11 years outdated), and Chelsea (previously named Kelly and depicted as being 6 or 7 years outdated).

Is Barbie and Ken’s Relationship Primarily based on a True Story?

Barbie and Ken’s relationship has been on the middle of Barbie’s mythos since Ken was first launched in 1961. Canonically, the pair hit it off whereas filming a TV industrial and began courting. Since then, they have been one of popular culture’s most enduring duos (save for a seven-year span, from 2004 to 2011, once they had “broken up”).

For anybody hoping the connection between Barbie and “just Ken” has any real-life inspiration, the reply appears to be no. Not one of the creatives concerned in crafting the Barbie mythos, from the unique creator to the torchbearers at Mattel, have stated something to that impact. Typically, it appears Ken’s complete existence happened on account of letters from followers asking for Barbie to get a boyfriend. Or, as director Greta Gerwig put it in a Vogue interview, “Ken was invented after Barbie, to burnish Barbie’s position in our eyes and in the world. That kind of creation myth is the opposite of the creation myth in Genesis.”

Barbie Controversies

For such a well-liked toy, Barbie’s existence has definitely had its justifiable share of controversy. One of many greatest, and most enduring, is the accusation that Barbie dolls (and Ken dolls) create unrealistic body-image expectations in kids on account of their wildly unrealistic proportions, which then observe these kids into maturity and may result in body-image points, consuming problems, and extra. At the moment’s Barbies have a number of extra completely different physique varieties, although the controversy nonetheless raises necessary discussions about physique picture in women and girls.

Equally, Barbie has usually been criticized for portraying a hyperfeminine, unrealistic, and slim depiction of femininity. Over time, Barbie and her spin-off supplies have sometimes performed into “airhead” stereotypes, like being unhealthy at STEM topics, which have nearly at all times led to Mattel having to apologize and redesign the merchandise.

There have additionally been a handful of particularly controversial Barbie “versions” through the years. On your rabbit-hole studying pleasure, could I current such gems as: