19. Her friend Becky in a wheelchair
1997. The Mattel company designed a doll in a wheelchair for children with disabilities, to make them feel included. The goal was to get healthy children used to the fact that other people should be treated with respect and understanding.
Despite the success, the production of the doll was stopped. The wheelchair was too big to fit through the door of the dollhouse. Besides, the accessories and clothes that Barbie had didn’t match Becky.
20. Too ideal
1998. Many people think that Midge and Barbie’s friends were created only to make the main character look more beautiful, smart, and talented. The friends are there only to have all the problems of the real world: Becky is in the wheelchair, and Midge has two children and is married — Barbie’s image is just too ideal. A study at Bath University showed that girls have different levels of hate for Barbie: they brake her, tear her hair, and put her in the microwave.
It’s funny, but Barbie’s friends who are not that conventionally beautiful, attract more attention. For example, Barbie — the Olympic champion is less desireable than Becky — the champion at the Olympics for Disabled Persons.
21. Businesswoman teaches girls
1999. On the 40th birthday of Barbie, the company donated $1.5 million for programs that teach girls technology, finance, math and science, and career planning.
22. Barbie with real body measurements
2000. Artist Nickolay Lamm developed a Barbie model that had real female proportions. According to the artist, the new doll was supposed to help girls get rid of their insecurities about their body. And this was supposed to give boys the right impression of female beauty. Only 1 woman in 100,000 is born with “ideal” proportions.
However, not everyone was happy: “If I wanted realism, I would look into the mirror!”, one girl said in an online forum.
23. Divorcing Ken
2004. The world was shocked by the news that Barbie was divorcing Ken on Valentine’s Day! And again Mattel took a lot of criticism — they were accused of propagating poor family values.
But in fact, Barbie just represented all the most important social issues of the time. And divorce is one of the parts of real life. Basically, this doll is the reflection of our civilization, where you can see her reaction to all the problems for the past 57 years.
24. Barbie — an IT-specialist wearing a T-shirt with binary code
2010. Technology is developing very quickly. Electronic Barbie had an built-in digital camera that could shoot 30-minute videos and could be plugged into the computer through a USB-port, and she wore a T-shirt with binary code. This was Barbie’s attempt at destroying the stereotype that women can’t work in IT.
25. Barbie in a hijab
2017. Barbie had been prohibited in the Eastern countries because of the way she looked. In the Arab countries, they have their own doll which is pretty much like Barbie but was less provocative in both her clothes and makeup.
In 2017, the Mattel company released a Barbie in a hijab. The new girl is supposed to teach Muslim girls to love their religion, their culture, and their national clothes. Also, the goal of this doll is to combat the myth about the “oppressed” dolls of the East. Now, Barbie is sold in 150 countries around the world.