Well, we all grow older – and some of us even see our children enter middle age, but who would have thought that Barbie would hit the mid-century mark? Today, March 9,2009 is the day that Barbie celebrates her 50th birthday, with not a gray hair or teensiest wrinkle. You can celebrate with her by buying a modernized version of the original 1959 doll for the 1959 price of $3 from today through March 14 at (and here’s the rub) “participating retailers.” Good luck in finding these retailers and the doll.
When my oldest daughter first started playing with this grotesquely proportioned doll (with the large breasts that Mattel’s Ruth Handler felt would raise girls’ self-esteem by seeing what they could grow into – huh?), I worried that Nancy would buy into our society’s emphasis on unrealistic body image and focus on that rather than developing her abilities. She and her friends would spend hours with Barbie and her friends. Happily, though, Nancy outgrew Barbie, went on to earn a Ph.D., enjoys her work, and has a healthy worldview. She has two daughters, the younger of whom (age 9) still plays with the old Barbies we keep in our attic. I’m not worried about Nina. That’s one of the great things about grandchildren: by now you have learned that most of the worries you had about your children never came to pass, so you don’t have to waste time and psychic energy thinking about them.
My one regret is that I didn’t save a few of those pristine $3 Barbies that I could now sell for mega-bucks (in 2006 one sold for $27,450). But I don’t spend time thinking about that either.
According to www.BarbieMedia.com, “Barbie Millicent Roberts - was "born" on March 9, 1959, in (fictional) Willows, Wisconsin. First introduced as the original Teenage Fashion Model, Barbie(R) doll has since had more than 108 careers, represented 50 different nationalities and collaborated with more than 70 different fashion designers. With one Barbie(R) doll sold every 3 seconds somewhere in the world, Barbie(R) remains the world's most popular doll and a powerhouse brand among girls of all ages. Through the decades, the Barbie(R) brand has evolved with girls, extending into entertainment, online and more than 45 different consumer products categories. Barbie(R) has never been married (she just likes wearing wedding gowns), she is "just friends" with Ken and her "real" measurements are 5 inches (bust) x 3 1/4 inches (waist) x 5 3/16 inches (hips). Her weight is 7 1/4 ounces. And, despite much discussion and controversy, Barbie(R) is in fact just an 11 1/2 inch doll ... or is she?”