Barbie is 60 today - and goodness she wears well
- Credit: Diane Bondareff/Invision/AP
March 8 was International Women’s Day (IWD)... and today is the 60th birthday of the incredible Barbie, who made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York.
Last year, Barbie maker Mattel marked IWD by immortalising a range of historical and modern-day role models as Barbies. They included Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (a court in Mexico banned the sale of it), Australian conservationist Bindi Irwin and pioneering aviatrix Amelia Earhart.
This year, in the same vein, they have awarded more inspirational women the Barbie. Among them is the first-ever Maori doll, modelled after New Zealand sports journalist Melodie Robinson.
In the UK, just four years after Barbie was launched, Sindy arrived, altogether less grown-up in looks than her American cousin. While Barbie had emerged from puberty with an impossible figure, Sindy was proportionally a more realistic doll. The sort of doll you could bring home and introduce to your parents in the certain knowledge they would think she was a nice doll, the sort of doll with whom they would wish their daughter to associate.
Barbie looked a bit of a minx.
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Of course, Barbie is only a doll, created for children to play with but she has become a style icon. On the one hand, a strong, independent woman who forsook domestic drudgery to pursue many challenging careers. On the other hand, she has an unattainable figure. There have been calculations to show that, if original Barbie were real, her tiny neck would not be able to support her bigger-than-average head.
Fast forward to 2016 and Barbie makers Mattel introduced three new types of Barbie - curvy, petite and tall. The BBC website looked at the new Barbies on the block and worked out how they would measure up to Marks and Spencer dress sizes. And guess what? Curvy Barbie would be buying a size six or eight - at least three sizes less than my definition of curvy. But whatever your view of Barbie, the fact is she reigns supreme in the doll universe and she looks pretty darn good for 60 - she’ll need to carry her senior railcard.
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