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Barbie, The Original Feminist Fashionista?

By Lena Janina Barbie. The name that today is known worldwide and on every single continent. She started out in the hands of American businesswoman Ruth Handler as an idea that came to mind while she

By Lena Janina

Barbie. The name that today is known worldwide and on every single continent. She started out in the hands of American businesswoman Ruth Handler as an idea that came to mind while she saw her daughter Barbara playing with paper dolls. Ruth realized that she needed a doll that had the figure-and wardrobe of a grown woman.

Barbie is more than just a doll; she has grown into a fashion icon, an inspiration and female powerhouse for all of her followers. Since her launch in March 1959, over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold.  In 2009, Barbie celebrated her 50th birthday. The over the top celebrations included a runway show in New York for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week with the event showcasing  fashions by fifty well-known haute couturiers including Diane von Fürstenberg, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Bob Mackie, and of course no party would be complete without the shoemaker extraordinaire- Christian Louboutin who gave Barbie a special honor.

Today, we look at Barbie much differently than she was portrayed before. Prior to early 90’s she was viewed as a ditzy doll that most women did not want their daughters to have as a role model.  The change came when former CEO of Mattel, Jill Barad began to market Barbie as a professional role model and changed the perspective of Barbie and females. Under the wing of Jill at Mattel, Barbie was finally everything and anything she wanted to be. A doctor, a lawyer, a gymnast, a veterinarian and an astronaut were only a few of the new career paths Barbie embarked on.   Jill Barad until now is one of the original women who broke the glass ceiling in one of the biggest companies of time and inspired all girls to have the mindset of not knowing any barriers in an era when this was still unheard of. Her marketing campaign “We Girls Can Do Anything” changed the course of Barbie, Mattel and women for all time.

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