By Kallie Stahl
To quote the band Aqua, “I’m a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie world.”
If you’ve read Shawn Proctor’s blog, or you’ve seen the numerous memes surrounding this summer’s biggest rival, then you know it’s Oppenheimer vs. Barbie. Proctor covered Christopher Nolan’s film on Wednesday, and I felt Barbie deserved equal coverage. After all, she’s everything. He’s just Ken.
Both films hit theatres Friday, July 21. I didn’t score tickets to an early screening of Barbie (as Proctor did with Oppenheimer), so I’ll leave the review to Manohla Dargis of the New York Times:
“Like Air, Ben Affleck’s recent movie about how Nike signed Michael Jordan, as well as other entertainments tethered to their consumer subjects, Barbie can only push so hard. These movies can’t damage the goods, though I’m not sure most viewers would want that; our brands, ourselves, after all. That said, [director] Greta Gerwig does much within the material’s inherently commercial parameters, though it isn’t until the finale — capped by a sharply funny, philosophically expansive last line — that you see the Barbie that could have been. Gerwig’s talents are one of this movie’s pleasures, and I expect that they’ll be wholly on display in her next one — I just hope that this time it will be a house of her own wildest dreams.”
View Barbie showtimes here.
The Story Behind the Movie:
- Barbie was created by Mattel in 1959 (Ken joined her in 1961).
- Barbie was invented by Ruth Handler (Mattel was co-founded by Handler and her husband Elliot).
- The initial idea for Barbie came to Handler after watching her daughter play with paper dolls.
- Barbie was modeled after the Bild Lilli doll (Mattel bought the rights to the doll and made their own).
- Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts (named after Handler’s daughter, Barbara. Ken is named after her son, Kenneth).
- Her birthday is March 9, 1959, the day she was unveiled to the toy industry during New York Toy Fair.
- Barbie is from (fictional) Willows, Wisconsin.
- Her first outfit? Black-and-white striped swimsuit.
- Barbie’s signature color is Barbie Pink (PMS 219).
- She’s had over 250 different occupations.
- It takes more than 100 people to create a Barbie doll and her fashions.
- Barbie is the most popular fashion doll ever produced and the No. 1 fashion doll property.
- More than 100 Barbie dolls are sold every minute.
- The best-selling Barbie doll? The 1992 Totally Hair™ Barbie.
- Over 18 billion minutes of Barbie user-generated content is created every year.
Further Reading with Falvey Library Resources:
- Barbie Culture (Rogers, 1999)
- Barbie’s Queer Accessories (Rand, 1995)
- Cyborgs and Barbie Dolls: Feminism, Popular Culture and the Posthuman Body (Toffoletti, 2007)
- Athena to Barbie: Bodies, Archetypes, and Women’s Search for Self (Wright, 2021)
- Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming (Kafai,2008)
- Bury Me with Barbie (Senna, 2014)
- Has Barbie Lost Her Luster? (Academic Video Online, 2013)
- Barbie. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://www.barbiemedia.com/about-barbie/fast-facts.html
- Dargis, M. (2023, July 19). Barbie’ Review: On the Road and Out of the Box. The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/18/movies/barbie-movie-review.html
- Munson, O. (2023, July 13). Barbie history: The story behind the world’s most popular doll. USA Today. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2023/07/13/who-created-barbie/11746176002/
Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library. Some of her favorite Barbie dolls of the 90’s: Bead Blast Barbie Doll, Olympic Gymnast Barbie Doll, Movin’ Groovin’ Barbie Doll, and Dorothy Barbie Doll (The Wizard of Oz).