After years of films based mostly 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 about 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 received the concept for Barbie in 1956, when she noticed Bild Lilli, a German grownup novelty toy based mostly on a preferred, somewhat saucy comic-strip character of the time. So, no, Barbie isn’t based mostly on an actual particular person, however her title was impressed by somebody actual (extra on that later).

When Is Barbie’s Birthday?

In accordance with 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 Honest.

How Previous Is Barbie?

Mattel debuted Barbie in March 1959, that means she’s a “senior citizen now,” celebrating her sixty fourth anniversary earlier this 12 months. Since then, Barbie has turn out to be 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 previous, however she’s additionally famously depicted as an expert girl inspiring children in additional than 250 careers and counting.

Barbie’s Full Identify

Mattel provides Barbie’s full title as Barbara Millicent Roberts, with “Barbie,” after all, being brief 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 title, was launched in 2021. Dubbed “Brooklyn Barbie,” this Barbie is a Black girl who befriends “original” blond Barbie after they meet in New York.

Does Barbie Have Siblings?

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

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 relationship. Since then, they have been one of popular culture’s most enduring duos (save for a seven-year span, from 2004 to 2011, after 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 mentioned something to that impact. On the whole, it appears Ken’s whole existence happened as a result 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 preferred toy, Barbie’s existence has definitely had its justifiable share of controversy. One of many largest, and most enduring, is the accusation that Barbie dolls (and Ken dolls) create unrealistic body-image expectations in kids as a result 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 just a few extra completely different physique varieties, although the controversy nonetheless raises vital discussions about physique picture in women and girls.

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

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