Artifact and Analysis

Learning from Barbie®

Ruth Handler, the founder of Mattel and originator of Barbie®, issued the following statement in 1964:

Parents thank us for the educational value in the world of Barbie. . . . They say they could never get their daughters well groomed beforeóget them out of slacks or blue jeans and wash their hair well, that's where Barbie comes in. The doll has clean hair and a clean face, and she dresses fashionably, and she wears gloves and shoes that match.

From Marilyn Motz, "I Want to Be a Barbie Doll When I Grow Up: The Cultural Significance of Barbie Doll," in E.C.D. Geist and J. Nachbar, eds., The Popular Culture Reader, 3rd ed., Bowling Green: Bowling Green University Press, 1983, pp. 122 ff.