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Barbie Dolls – Why They Became So Popular


Barbie Collectors Doll 2014

Barbie Collectors Doll 2014

Barbie dolls hit the market for the first time in 1959. For many children (and their parents) it was love at first site. This was the year Ruth Handler invented the doll that soon became the most popular fashion doll ever. Barbie was introduced to the public at the American Toy Fair in New York City.

Named after Ruth Handler’s daughter Barbara, Barbie was the first three-dimensional adult type doll developed in America. This was at a time when most girls were still playing with paper or cardboard cut-outs. The number of baby dolls available on the market far outweighed dolls that little girls wanted to play with and could use for role play.

Ruth Handler thought it was important for girls to be able to aspire to be more than mothers. This led to her idea for the doll that has since become a role model to millions around the world

Over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold to date, making Ruth’s idea the best selling invention ever to hit the toy industry.  The market for these dolls continues to grow with the introduction of new friends and family members such as little sister Kelly, boyfriend Ken, and a variety of ethnic friends.

Barbie has been a princess, a bride, a movie star and more.  Barbie dolls are also a favorite of many adult women who have collected the dolls since childhood. Several lines of dolls were created just for these collectors.

These collector dolls can range in price from $35 to $199, making these dolls the type you don’t want your children to play with. Collections are separated into Silver and Gold label, depending on quality and cost of the dolls.  There is even a monthly magazine devoted to hardcore collectors. It is common to see pictures of fans with hundreds of Barbie dolls that have never been played with, all in unopened boxes.

Barbie and horse

Barbie and Horse

Despite Barbie’s ever-growing popularity, the doll has her critics. There are public groups that believe Barbie is a poor role model and not healthy for young girls’ self-esteem.  They point to the fact that Barbie dolls always have perfect hair, skin, and clothing and also proportionately impossible body measurements.

Mattel, the company that Ruth Handler founded, has been working hard to make sure Barbie projects only positive experiences for girls. Their main goal is to show young girls that, if they want to, they can be more than mothers when they grow up. This has led to the invention of astronaut, doctor, teacher, and even presidential candidate Barbie dolls.

Although these groups have a valid point, studies have shown that playing with Barbie dolls does not decrease self-esteem in young girls. Rather, it instills in them the belief that they can achieve anything in their own lives.  In this respect, Ruth’s original idea has been a success.

Many women say that their experiences with Barbie filled them with motivation and inspiration to succeed in all aspects of their lives, including making friends and working toward rewarding careers. There is no doubt Ruth Handler and Mattel created one of the greatest role model ever for young girls.  Sales alone tell the tale, as Barbie dolls remain the best money-making toy the industry has ever seen.

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