On March 9th, 1959, Ruth Handler, the co-founder of the American toy company Mattel, introduced at the American International Toy Fair in New York the 11-inch-tall fashion doll, Barbara Millicent Roberts, known by her nickname Barbie, to the world.
Back in those days, dolls looked like infants, but when Handler noticed that her daughter often gave her dolls adult roles, she decided to design a doll with adult features to inspire girls to imagine their life in the future. After coming across a German model that matched her vision, Handler created a modified version and named it after her daughter Barbara. Two years later, a male companion joined Barbie, Ken, named after Handler’s son, Kenneth.
Soon after her launch, Barbie became a must-have toy. She was among the first toys marketed in television advertisements and the sole sponsor of Mickey Mouse Club. With her signature color of pink, Barbie became the best friend of generations of children, arousing their imagination and creativity. For more than 60 years, Barbie has brought joy to the world and is still one of the most popular toys for girls, selling about 58 million dolls in over 150 countries annually.
She was criticized many times for her unrealistic figure and false representation of women’s bodies, style, and role in society; however, over the years, she evolved and became more realistic and inclusive in both body image and life goals. Since her creation, she has had more than 150 different careers, such as an Olympic athlete, physician, scientist, and president. Today, Barbie comes in all shapes, sizes, skin colors, and hair textures. She represents women from all walks of life, as is shown in the Barbie Celebrates Role Models collection, which includes extraordinary women, such as Frida Kahlo, Gabby Douglas, Patti Jenkins, Yuan Yuan Tan, Amelia Earhart, and Ava Duvernay.
National Barbie Day is celebrated every year on March 9th, the day she premiered and her official birthday. The day is dedicated to All Things Barbie, from the doll itself to her clothes, accessories, animals, cars, and houses. It is an opportunity to relive your childhood memories and play with your favorite Barbie. You can introduce her to a new generation and gift her to your children, nephews, and nieces. You can also visit the Barbie Museum in Montreal or Copenhagen, organize a Barbie party with your friends, and share your memories and pictures of you and your Barbie collection on social media using #NationalBarbieDay or #barbieday.
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