Mattel and Barbie’s Evolution

The pretty blonde doll and her legacy.

Barbie has come a long way since her inception.


Barbie has come a long way since her inception.

Amanda Mourelo, Editor of Student Opinion and Features and Extras

In 1959 in Los Angeles, California, Ruth Handler saw her daughter Barbara playing with paper dolls. Ruth and her husband owned the toy company Mattel, and they had a bright idea to start making dolls out of plastic inspired by their daughter, Barbara. According to Stacker, the couple’s goal was to show young girls that they could be whatever they wanted to be.

There has been a lot of controversy around the toy. The original Barbie doll was just one doll with blonde hair and a slim figure. Stacker states that if Barbie was real, her waist would be roughly 18 inches; Healthline states that the average female waist in the United States is 38.7 inches. Young girls were targeted to go and buy Barbie dolls that all looked the same. There were simply different kinds of outfits, such as career uniforms and dresses. There were male Barbie dolls, but they looked exactly like the women. Although younger kids don’t see the problem with Barbie looking the same throughout all these years, the company was receiving heaps of feedback and decided to become more inclusive. According to Stacker, in 2016, Mattel introduced Barbie dolls with more realistic human features such as non-white skin tones, disabilities, different body types, and varying hair styles. Mattel thought this would help show more personality for both the child and the doll. Even adults have started to collect these diverse new Barbies.

Statistically speaking, Time states that as of now, Mattel has reached $1 billion in sales across 150 different countries. Barbie prices started to get more affordable, and now 92 percent of American girls aged three through 12 own a Barbie doll. According to The Conversation, Barbie has influenced not just young girls, but women as a whole on how they see themselves. With all the controversy and change, the iconic doll has been one of the most recognized American toys for years.