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Barbie turns 60: Here's what you need to know about the iconic doll

Updated : 2019-03-07 11:33:48

Barbie, manufactured by Mattel, has turned 60 today and is still going strong. Barbie has a hair stylist, makeup artist and photographer who travel with her "for real" in the United States and abroad for Instagram photo sessions. In 2018, the brand launched a sweeping campaign to help young girls close the so-called "Dream Gap" -- using Barbie to teach them to believe in themselves, and not to buy into sexist gender stereotypes. So, does Barbie have it all as she hits 60, but remains forever young, still single and without kids (so far)? As she would say in her iconic song: "Life in plastic, It's fantastic!"

The iconic Barbie doll has turned 60 today. Despite fierce competition in the toy industry, 58 million Barbies are sold each year in more than 150 countries. (Image: Reuters)
The iconic Barbie doll has turned 60 today. Despite fierce competition in the toy industry, 58 million Barbies are sold each year in more than 150 countries. (Image: Reuters)
Around the world, Barbie is as universally known as Coca-Cola or McDonald's, Nathan Baynard, director of global brand marketing for Barbie, said during a recent visit to Mattel's design studio in El Segundo, a suburb of Los Angeles. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Around the world, Barbie is as universally known as Coca-Cola or McDonald's, Nathan Baynard, director of global brand marketing for Barbie, said during a recent visit to Mattel's design studio in El Segundo, a suburb of Los Angeles. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Blonde or brunette, slender or curvy, black or white, princess or president, Barbie is a forever favorite for young girls, even if she has caused controversy over the years. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Blonde or brunette, slender or curvy, black or white, princess or president, Barbie is a forever favorite for young girls, even if she has caused controversy over the years. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
From the start, Barbie's pinup measurements didn't immediately seem all that feminist, and would spark criticism for decades to come. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
From the start, Barbie's pinup measurements didn't immediately seem all that feminist, and would spark criticism for decades to come. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
The doll was supposed to teach girls
The doll was supposed to teach girls "that they had choices, that they could be anything. In 1959, it was a radical idea!" Baynard said. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Barbie was invented by Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, who was inspired by her own children to create the doll. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Barbie was invented by Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, who was inspired by her own children to create the doll. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
In all, more than one billion Barbie dolls have been sold since she made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
In all, more than one billion Barbie dolls have been sold since she made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
The entire design process for a new Barbie can last 12 to 18 months. Then, the prototype is sent from the California workshop to factories in China and Indonesia for mass production. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
The entire design process for a new Barbie can last 12 to 18 months. Then, the prototype is sent from the California workshop to factories in China and Indonesia for mass production. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Designers begin with a simple sketch. From there on, every bit of a prototype is made by an army of experts -- from sculpting the doll using state-of-the-art software and 3D printing to painting the face, styling the hair, choosing fabrics and crafting the clothing patterns. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Designers begin with a simple sketch. From there on, every bit of a prototype is made by an army of experts -- from sculpting the doll using state-of-the-art software and 3D printing to painting the face, styling the hair, choosing fabrics and crafting the clothing patterns. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Mattel has more than 100 people working in the El Segundo design studio, a massive hangar-like building wedged between Los Angeles International Airport and a freeway. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Mattel has more than 100 people working in the El Segundo design studio, a massive hangar-like building wedged between Los Angeles International Airport and a freeway. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Since the blonde beauty first hit stores, and after a torrent of complaints over what was seen as unrealistic proportions, Mattel has made many changes -- introducing multiple body types and dozens of skin tones. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
Since the blonde beauty first hit stores, and after a torrent of complaints over what was seen as unrealistic proportions, Mattel has made many changes -- introducing multiple body types and dozens of skin tones. (Image: Reuters/Caption: PTI)
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