Ruth Handler: The Barbie inventor who revolutionalised prosthetic breasts and narrowly avoided prison

Barbie wasn’t like other dolls in the toybox. When her controversially adult form – pink lips, dinky waist, big breasts – hit store shelves in 1959, she revolutionised play. Until then, “dolls” had meant “baby dolls” that invited just one mode of pretend: a little girl could imagine the dutiful mother or sister – the caretaker, really – she was expected to be.

Barbara Millicent Roberts, or “Barbie”, was different. A girl could daydream about the woman she would become, what job she would work or what clothes she would wear. A baby doll suggested one future; a Barbie doll suggested all of them. For all her specific and derided physical features – her whiteness, her blondeness, her thinness – she was also a blank sheet of paper. Which is just how Barbie’s mom intended it.

“The whole idea was that a little girl could dream dreams of growing up, and every grown-up that she saw had breasts,” said Ruth Handler, Barbie’s female inventor. Handler, who died in 2002, had to fight the prudish male execs at Mattel Toys for every perky millimetre.


Related Articles

Bir cavab yazın

Sizin e-poçt ünvanınız dərc edilməyəcəkdir. Gərəkli sahələr * ilə işarələnmişdir

Back to top button