Barbie, the fashion doll famous around the world, celebrates her 60th anniversary on Saturday with new collections honouring real-life role models and careers in which women remain underrepresented. It is part of Barbie’s evolution over the decades since her debut at the New York Toy Fair on March 9, 1959.
To mark the milestone, manufacturer Mattel Inc created Barbie versions of 20 inspirational women from Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka to British model and activist Adwoa Aboah.
The company also released six dolls representing the careers of astronaut, pilot, athlete, journalist, politician and fire-fighter, all fields in which Mattel said women are still underrepresented.
Barbie is a cultural icon celebrated by the likes of Andy Warhol, the Paris Louvre museum and the 1997 satirical song “Barbie Girl” by Scandinavian pop group Aqua. She was named after the daughter of creator Ruth Handler.
Barbie has taken on more than 200 careers from surgeon to video game developer since her debut, when she wore a black-and-white striped swimsuit. After criticism that Barbie’s curvy body promoted an unrealistic image for young girls, Mattel added a wider variety of skin tones, body shapes, hijab-wearing dolls and science kits to make Barbie more educational.
Barbie is also going glamorous for her six-decade milestone. A diamond-anniversary doll wears a sparkly silver ball gown.