When I was very young, I owned very many Barbie dolls. To me, they were just so beautiful, and flawless, and I loved them very much. But the Barbie that said the most to me was the President Barbie. This spoke to me. It said that anyone, anywhere, of any gender, socioeconomic status, background, sexuality, ethnicity, race, or belief system could be anything they ever wanted to be, as long as they worked hard enough to achieve it. And this is a very important message, and it is a message that Barbie sends to people every day, all over the world.
One day, as Ruth Handler watched her daughter play with paper dolls, she noticed that often the dolls were put into adult scenarios, such as grocery shopping, working, et cetera (“The Creation of Barbie”). As most dolls in this era, the 1950’s, were either babies or small children, Handler got an idea: what if she created an adult doll (“The Creation of Barbie”)? So, she drew up a design for one, and she named her Barbie, after her daughter, Barbara (“The Creation of Barbie”). Then, in 1959, Mattel, a huge and very popular toy company, picked up the idea (“The Creation of Barbie”). Barbie made her first appearance in New York, at the annual toy fair (“The Creation of Barbie”). That year, 351,000 Barbie dolls were sold, which was a sales record in America (“The Creation of Barbie”). Today, Barbie continues to be the most popular doll in the world, with two sold every minute (“The Creation of Barbie”).
When Barbie first premiered, feminism in America was on the back burner (Hannam), and was little talked of. It’s said that with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, in 1920, waves of feminism died down, as it was commonly thought that women had been given complete equal rights, and they should be appeased (Hannam). Little did they know, that, however big a step this was, it wasn’t enough: yes, women were granted equal rights, however what was truly wanted was the general acceptance (Walsh). Not simply to be equal, legally, but to be regarded as equal by their male peers and coworkers, and have their ideas and work viewed as equal, and as a result have the same pay and advancement opportunities as males (Walsh). Then, with the emergence of the Women’s Liberation Movement, in in the late 1960’s, it became very popular again, and refreshed to the public that women would be heard and they would be treated as equal (Hannam).
As Barbie became more and more popular, she became more and more diverse. In 1965, Astronaut Barbie was introduced (“A Barbie World”), which was huge, as women had never before worked in this field (“A Barbie World”). The first African-American Barbie went on the market in 1967 (“A Barbie World”); it was a large success, because never before had a widely known successful doll had an African-American counterpart (“A Barbie World”). With the arrival of these two Barbie’s, the face of feminism in America began to change: not only could women be astronauts, but black women, as well. It is...