Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011


Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler created history's most famous teenager after watching her daughter Barbara play with her paper dolls. In 1959, Handler decided to create a three-dimensional, grownup fashion doll for young girls to play with. She named the doll Barbie after her daughter; sales soared, making Barbie (and her vast collection of accessories) the best-selling fashion doll of all time. As the 1960s unfolded, criticism mounted of Barbie's unrealistic body shape. And in recent years, talking Barbies have gotten flak for saying things like, "Math class is tough." But as of late, Barbie has cleaned up her act, with a more realistic body shape, more modest clothing options and bolder career options, like doctor and computer engineer.