Barbie. history Essay

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Barbie Purpose statement: The purpose of this speech is to inform the audience about Barbie. INTRODUCTION: I. Did you know in every second of everyday, two Barbie dolls are sold somewhere in the world? A. Barbie was invented in 1959 by Ruth Handler. B. She was introduced to the world at the American Toy Fair in New York City. II. Barbie has been an important part of the toy fashion doll market for fifty years. A. She has been the subject of numerous controversies and lawsuits, often involving parody of the doll and lifestyle. B. In recent years, Barbie has faced increasing competition from the Bratz range of dolls.

BODY: I. History A. Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara at play with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children’s toy dolls were representations of infants. Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. He was unenthusiastic about the idea, as were Mattel’s directors. 1. During a trip to Europe in 1956 with her children Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth Handler came across German toy doll called Bild Lilli.

The adult-figured doll was exactly what Handler had in mind, so she purchased three of them. 2. She gave one to her daughter and took the others back to Mattel. The Lilli doll was based on a popular character appearing in a comic strip. Lilli was a working girl who knew what she wanted and was not above using men to get it. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955, and although it was initially sold to babies, it became popular with adults who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately. B.

Upon her return to the United States, Handler reworked the design of the doll and the doll was given a new name, Barbie, after Handler’s daughter Barbara. The doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This date is also used as Barbie’s official birthday. 1. Mattel acquired the rights to the Bild Lilli doll in 1964 and production of Lilli was stopped. 2. The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail, and was available as either a blonde or brunette.

The doll was marketed as a “Teen-age Fashion Model,” with her clothes created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese home workers. Around 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production. 3. Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance, and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll’s figure.

Barbie’s appearance has been changed many times, most notably in 1971 when the doll’s eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model. Barbie was one of the first toys to have a marketing strategy based extensively on television and advertising, which has been copied widely by other toys. It is estimated that over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries. II. Biography A. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. 1.

In a series of novels published by Random House in the 1960s, her parents’ names are given as George and Margaret Roberts from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. She attended Willows High School, while in the Generation Girl books published by Golden Books in 1999 she attended the fictional Manhattan International High School in New York City. 2. Barbie has had over forty pets including cats and dogs, horses, a panda, a lion cub, and a zebra. She has owned a wide range of vehicles, including pink Corvette convertibles, trailers and jeeps.

She also holds a pilot’s license, and operates commercial airliners in addition to serving as a flight attendant. Barbie’s careers are designed to show that women can take on a variety of roles in life, and the doll has been sold with a wide range of titles including Miss Astronaut Barbie, Doctor Barbie and Nascar Barbie. III. Controversies A. Barbie’s popularity ensures that her effect on the play of children attracts a high degree of scrutiny. The criticisms leveled at her are often based on the assumption that children consider Barbie a role model and will attempt to emulate her. . One of the most common criticisms of Barbie is that she promotes an unrealistic idea of body image for a young woman, leading to a risk that girls who attempt to emulate her will become anorexic. A standard Barbie doll is 11. 5 inches tall, giving a height of 5 feet 9 inches at 1/6 scale. Barbie’s vital statistics have been estimated at 36 inches (chest), 18 inches (waist) and 33 inches (hips). According to research by the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, she would lack the 17 to 22 percent body fat required for a woman to menstruate.

In 1965 Slumber Party Barbie came with a book entitled How to Lose Weight which advised: “Don’t eat. ” The doll also came with pink bathroom scales reading 110 lbs. , which would be around 35 lbs. underweight for a woman 5 feet 9 inches tall. In 1997 Barbie’s body mold was redesigned and given a wider waist, with Mattel saying that this would make the doll better suited to contemporary fashion designs. 2. In March 2000 stories appeared in the media claiming that the hard vinyl used in vintage Barbie dolls could leak toxic chemicals, causing danger to children playing with them.

The claim was rejected as false by technical experts. 3. In April 2009, the launch of a “Totally Tattoos” Barbie with a range of tattoos that could be applied to the doll, including a tramp stamp, led to controversy. Mattel’s promotional material read “Customize the fashions and apply the fun temporary tattoos on you too”, but Ed Mayo, chief executive of Consumer Focus, argued that children might want to get tattooed themselves. IV. Parodies and Lawsuits A. Barbie has often been referenced in popular culture and is frequently the target of parody. Some of these occasions include: 1.

In 1997, the Danish-Norwegian pop-dance group Aqua released a song called Barbie Girl. It contained lyrics such as “You can brush my hair / Undress me everywhere” and used graphics similar to the pink Barbie logo. Mattel argued that this constituted a trademark infringement and filed a defamation lawsuit against MCA Records on September 11, 1997. In July 2002, Judge Alex Kozinski ruled that the song was protected as a parody under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. 2. In 1993 a group in the United States calling itself the “Barbie Liberation Organization” modified Barbie dolls by giving them the voice box of a talking G.

I. Joe doll, and secretly returned the dolls to the shelves of toy stores. Parents and children were surprised when they purchased Barbie dolls that uttered phrases such as “Eat lead, Cobra! ” and “Vengeance is mine. ” 3. In 2004, Mattel filed a lawsuit against Barbara Anderson-Walley of Calgary, Canada over her website, which sells clothing. Ms Anderson-Walley said that she had been known by the name “Barbie” since childhood, and did not intend to infringe the trademark of the doll. The lawsuit was dismissed, since it was filed in a New York court, and the court ruled that it had no jurisdiction over matters in Canada.

V. Barbie verses Bratz A. In June 2001, MGA Entertainment launched the Bratz range of dolls, a move that would give Barbie her first serious competition in the fashion doll market. 1. In 2004 sales figures showed that Bratz dolls were outselling Barbie dolls in the United Kingdom, although Mattel maintained that in terms of the number of dolls, clothes and accessories sold, Barbie remained the leading brand. In 2005 figures showed that sales of Barbie dolls had fallen by 30% in the United States, and by 18% worldwide, with much of the drop being attributed to the popularity of Bratz dolls. . Mattel sued MGA Entertainment for $500 million alleging that Bratz creator Carter Bryant was working for Mattel when he developed the idea for Bratz. On July 17, 2008, a federal jury ruled that the Bratz line was created by Carter Bryant while he was working for Mattel. The jury also ruled that MGA and its Chief Executive Officer Isaac Larian were liable for converting Mattel property for their own use and intentionally interfering with the contractual duties owed by Bryant to Mattel.

On August 26, the jury found that Mattel would have to be paid US $100 million in damages. 3. On December 3, 2008, U. S. District Judge Stephen Larson banned MGA from selling Bratz. He allowed the company to continue selling the dolls until the winter holiday season ended. The ruling will be in effect on February 11, 2009 at the earliest, and Mattel and MGA will meet in court on that date. According to the terms of the court order, after the end of the holiday season, MGA must remove, at its own cost, all the Bratz dolls from store shelves, ncluding the reimbursement of the cost of the dolls and all shipping costs to its vendors and distributors. The court gave exceptions for some toys if they are packaged separately from infringing toys. MGA announced that it would be appealing against the court’s ruling. CONCLUSION: I. In conclusion, Barbie has been around for 50 years. A. She’s been through controversies, B. Parodies and lawsuits. II. So when you see pass a Barbie in the store not only do you know her history and how she came to be, but you also know how hard the Mattel company has worked to keep her being a success.

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