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The evolution of the Barbie doll

Библиографическое описание: Загфуранова Е. В., Краснова Т. А. The evolution of the Barbie doll // Юный ученый. — 2018. — №2. — С. 26-28. URL: (дата обращения: 23.04.2019).


Modern art critics and writers say that the creation of the Barbie doll is a great event in the toys history. According to Linor Goralic’s book “The Hollow Woman. The Barbie World Inside and Out”, the Barbie doll became a socio-cultural phenomenon from the first days of her appearance. The secret of the success of the Barbie doll is in the fact that the doll changed during the decades and reflected modern life.

So we decided to trace the evolution of the Barbie Doll and to classify the changes of the Barbie doll. This research analyzes the Barbie doll according to the following criteria: the year of release, material, molds, skin tone and body construction. The mold is the shape of the face of the Barbie doll.

The Creators of the Barbie Doll were Ruth and Eliot Handler, co-founders of the American toy company Mattel. Ruth watched her daughter Barbara playing with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. Ruth understood that a doll with adult appearance could be very successful. The prototype of the Barbie Doll was a German toy doll Bild Lilli. They named the doll Barbie like the Handlers’ daughter.

The 9th of March, 1959 is the official birthday of the Barbie doll, because the first Barbie doll was presented at the American International Exhibition of toys “Toy Fair” in New York in that date. The doll had a triangular face, a small nose and plum red lips. The skin was white. Now that skin tone is called “Peace”. The doll was made of plastic, had a Vintage body construction and the Original Face Mold. It could turn the head and move arms and legs.

In 1960’s Mattel made all of the Barbie dolls of plastic, used “Vintage” body construction and the following molds: “First-Ever Barbie/Nostalgic/Original Face Mould/Vintage” in 1958, “Midge” in 1959, “Stacey” in 1965, “Christie” in 1965 and “Twist'N'Turn” in 1966.

In 1966 Mattel changed the element connected a head and a neck. And because of it the cheeks of the doll became chubby. This doll also began to bend the knees. In 1967 the Barbie doll began to turn at the waist, so called “Twist and Turn”.

In the 1970’s the Barbie doll debuted with long, straight hair and became like a doll that we can see today. Mattel produced the doll Superstar Barbie. It had a new face sculpt, and open smile with pearly white teeth. The Barbie doll began to look straight ahead in front of her. Mattel began to make the Barbie dolls of plastic, rubber and porcelain. They used “TNT Twist and Turn” and “Shany body” construction and the following molds: “Steffie” in1971, “SuperStar” in1976, “Guardian Goddes” in1978, “Italian” in 1978, “Jazzie” in1979.

The Barbie doll became a cultural icon and was given an honor that was rare in the toy world. In 1974 a section of Times Square in New York City was renamed Barbie Boulevard for a week. In 1976 the Barbie doll and the Ken doll were given a place in “America’s Time Capsule”, cementing its status as a true American icon. In 1976 they also produced the Barbie -bride doll. Even nowadays designers create wedding clothes for the Barbie doll. In the same year Mattel produced the Barbie Ballerina doll. It could move around much more.

In the 1980s the Barbie doll didn’t play the role of housewife or eternal surfer girl any more. It became a Career Girl. They used “TNT Twist and Turn” and “Shany body” construction and the following molds:Orienta”l (1981), “Hispanic” (1982), “Diva” (1986), “Heart Family Grandma” (1986), “Christie” (1987).

In 1986 Andy Warhol, the American artist, a leading figure in pop art, the most successful illustrator in New York, created a painting of the Barbie doll.

In the end of 1980’s Mattel began to produce special collection series of the Barbie doll. Such dolls are not for the game. They are created with the help of famous designers and the price of them is very high.

In the 1990’s there was a Barbie boom all over the world. The Barbie doll became the best gift for girls around the world. Mattel began to produce more interactive Barbie dolls and Barbie-princesses. In July 1992, Mattel released the Barbie doll that could talk to the millions of young girls. Teen Talk Barbie doll included 270 programmable phrases.

In 1995 Mattel decided to create the Barbie doll with the soft body. So the children could take their favorite doll to bed with them. The eyes of that doll could change color if they wet them with the hot water and the doll became sleeping.

In 1997 the Barbie Olympic champion doll appeared. The doll had a Poseable body construction included the great mobility of hands and legs and could perform different tricks. Mattel wanted to make the figure of the doll close to human’s body so they reduced the chest and made wider the waist of the Barbie doll. Before 1997 the most popular mold was the “Superstar” mold, and in 1998 it was changed on the more modern “Generation girl” mold.

In 1990’s Mattel made the dolls of plastic, rubber, vinyl, porcelain, soft cloth and used the following body constructions: “TNT Twist and turn body”, “Shany body”, “Poseable body” and the following molds: “Asha”, “Nichelle”, “Shani”, “Teen Talk”, “Fashion Friends”, “Teresa” in 1990, “Mackie” in 1991, “Teen Skipper” in 1995, “CEO/Generation Girl”, “Tori/Chelsie”, “Anna/Lara”, “Grandma” in 1998, “Goddess” in 1999.

In the 2000’s the Barbie doll got new types of the body. According to the representatives of the company, it was made to fit the doll to modern standards of fashion. Mattel added new body design to the reduced chest and the wide waist of the Barbie doll. That body was called Basic Belly Button. Model Muse Body constructions of the Barbie dolls came out in 2003. It was a posing body with a hand on the waist. In 2006 Mattel produced Pivotal body construction. It is an articulated type of the body. The Barbie doll could circle the arms in elbows and legs in knees.

At that time Mattel began to make the following molds: “Kayla/Lea” in 2000; “Mbili” and “Tango” in 2001; “Desiree” in 2002; “Flavas, “Carnaval/Eternal”, “Summer”, “Marisa” in 2003; “Daria”, “Fairytopia”, “Nichelle” in 2004; “Barbie” in 2005; “Alice”, “Sharpay” in 2007; “Aphrodite” in 2008; “Louboutin” in 2009.

The Barbie Fashion Model Collection doll (BFMC/ Silkstone Barbie) appeared in 2000. The head was made of plastic and the body was made of the Silkstone, very durable material. Silkstone dolls have five standard points of articulation and a rotating waist. The arms and legs are connected with elastic bands.

In 2015 Mattel produced the new line of Barbie dolls with new body type which is called “Made to move” with “Fully jointed body” construction. That dolls had double joints and 22 articulation points. In 2016 Mattel released a new Barbie Fashionistas collection which included 5 body types, 7 skin tones, 18 eye colors, 18 hairstyles, and countless on-trend fashions and accessories. The Barbie doll got petite, tall and curvy body types. Mattel made a real revolution for a Barbie doll, and the toy market. They released a doll with real proportions. Mattel shows to the society that women are different, smart and versatile and offers girls choices that are better reflective of the world they see today.

In accordance with the information of the research the general classification of the Barbie doll was compiled. There are the main changes the Barbie doll got during the evolution since 1960-s to our days in the table (Tab. 1).


Table 1

The General Classification of the Barbie Doll




Skin tone

Body construction



1960- First-Ever Barbie/Nostalgic/Original Facce Mould/Vintage

1960 — Midge

1965 — Stacey

1965 — Christie

1966- Twist'N'Turn










LA Tan,

Tropic Tan,

Light brown,

Dark Brown,

Dark Black,


Silkstone Afra,

Classic Beige,


Vintage body





1971 — Steffie

1976- SuperStar

1978- Guardian Goddes

1978 — Italian

1979- Jazzie


TNT Twist and turn body

Shany body





1981- Oriental

1982- Hispanic

1986 — Diva

1986 — Heart Family Grandma

1987- Christie

TNT Twist and turn body

Shany body






Soft cloth

1990 -Asha, Nichelle, Shani, Teen Talk, Fashion Friends, Teresa

1991 — Mackie

1995 — Teen Skipper

1998- CEO/Generation Girl, Tori/Chelsie, Anna/Lara, Grandma

1999- Goddess

TNT Twist and turn body

Shany body

Poseable body






Silkstone (for collection dolls)

2000 Kayla/Lea

2001 Mbili

2001 Tango

2002 Desiree

2003 — Flavas

2003- Carnaval/Eternal,

Summer, Marisa

2004 — Daria, Fairytopia,


2005 — Barbie

2007- Alice, Sharpay

2008 — Aphrodite

2009- Louboutin

Basic Belly Button

Model Muse


Vintage body






Silkstone (for collection dolls)

2010 CEO/Generation Girl, Fashionistas, Closed Mouth, (New) Summer, Stardoll

2011 Raquelle, Pazette

2012 Mermaid, Skipper

2013 Stargazer, Lagerfeld, Millie

2014 Kasandra, Neysa, Kim/Chandra, Claudette

2014 Joice/New Teresa

2015 Curvy, New Asian

2016 Madam LaVinia, Orange

Fully jointed body


Ever flex







  1.                Linor Goralic “ Hollow woman. The Barbie World Inside and Out”. M: New Literary Review, 2006.
  2.                Politova M. A. “History of Dolls: Tradition and Modern Life”- CyberLeninka [site]. URL: (03.11.2017).
  3.                “The Barbie doll. Technical specifications: Material. Skin tone. Edition”. [site]. URL:, (26.07.2017).
  4.                “The Barbie story”- Barbie.Mattel [site].URL: (09.08.2017).
  5.                “Changes of the appearance of the dolls”- Kuklopedia [site]. URL: (26.02.2018).


№ 2 (16), апрель 2018 г. г.

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