On March 9, 1959, Barbie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York City. The date became known as Barbie's birthday and is now also celebrated as Barbie Day. Barbie was thought up by Ruth Handler, wife of one of Mattel's founders, Elliot Handler. Handler noticed her daughter, Barbara, gave adult roles to paper dolls when she played with them. In 1956, Handler bought three German Lilli Dolls while vacationing in Switzerland, and used them as inspiration in creating the Barbie doll upon returning back to California.
Barbie made her debut in stores on September 6. The first Barbie wore a black and white swimsuit, had the full name of Barbara Millicent Roberts, and was available with either blonde or brunette hair. Her cost was $3.00, which is about the equivalent of $26.00 in 2019. Over the years, Barbie has been seen as a positive inspiration to girls by demonstrating the many careers that young girls could pursue. But, Barbie has not been without controversy, and many have been critical of the doll's unrealistic body shape. Over one billion Barbie dolls have been sold since they made their debut, and Barbie has become an American cultural icon.
Barbie Day is observed next on Monday, March 9th, 2020. It has always been observed annually on March 9th.
How to Observe
Barbie Day could be celebrated by taking out your old Barbie dolls. If you have children this may be a good day to show the dolls to them or to talk to them about the dolls. You could go out and buy a new Barbie. If you are a diehard Barbie fan, you could plan a trip to Canada to visit Montreal's Barbie museum or the Legacy Doll Museum in Montana.
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