That all-American woman, Barbie, just turned 60! She made her debut on March 9, 1959, and love her or hate her, she has certainly evolved with the times.
Fun Barbie Facts
Even if you were obsessed with Barbie back in the day, some of these little nuggets might surprise you. She debuted at a toy fair and was named Barbara Millicent Roberts, after Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler’s daughter, Barbara.
- The first Barbies sold for $3. Today they typically retail for $15 to $50, depending on the model and accessories. More than a billion Barbies have been sold in over 150 countries worldwide.
- The first Barbies sold for $3. Today they typically retail for $15 to $50, depending on the model
and accessories. Over a billion Barbies have been sold in over 150 countries worldwide.
- Mattel has said that in recent years, one Barbie is sold every three seconds, which would be an estimated 10.5 million sold every year.
- She’s 11 1/2 inches tall, and customers have complained that her proportions give girls unrealistic expectations about their bodies and can impact self-esteem. According to research, If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9” tall, have a 39-inch bust, an 18-inch waist, 33-inch hips, and wear a size 3 shoe! Some said these super-svelte proportions meant that if Barbie were real, she wouldn’t be able to stand upright … too top-heavy and too tiny-footed!
- Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 pounds … which means the Barbie of that era would be clinically underweight.
- In 1998, Barbie’s bust got smaller, her waist wider, and her feet were no longer in permanent high-heel position. Then, in 2016, Mattel introduced curvy Barbie (with a tummy that actually pooches out a bit), petite Barbie, and tall Barbie.
- Her boyfriend, Ken Carson, hit the scene in 1961, and while they seemed inseparable, they never wed. In 2004, a Mattel spokesperson announced that, “like other celebrity couples, their Hollywood romance has come to an end” but they “will remain friends.
- Barbie’s careers have changed with the times. While her wardrobe was at first all about fashion, she soon began to dress the part for different jobs, including nurse (1961), student teacher (1965), aerobics instructor (1984), doctor (1988), U.S. Air Force pilot (1991), paleontologist (1997), U.S. President (2000), and TV chef (2008)
- Barbie’s plastics sound relatively safe: In 2007, the doll was found to be free of phthalates in an analysis by the Washington Toxics Coalition, and Mattel is known to use an alternative plasticizer that’s considered safe in the U.S. and Europe.
- The most expensive Barbie to date was a special edition made with Australian jewelry designer Stefano Canturi to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Decked out in pink and white diamonds, the doll pulled in $302,500 for a very good cause at a 2010 auction. Good job, Barbie!