National Barbie Day

Americans all have the opportunity to dream big and toys are a big part of boosting our creativity and imagination as children. I hear stories about old toys the Hancock International College staff used to play with and I am reminded that toys are very different all around the world. One toy that is truly a part of American culture is one I’m sure our ESL students have at least heard of and today is the anniversary of the first day this doll went on sale. So here’s a short summary of the story of Mattel’s “Barbie”!

Entertainment.howstuffworks.com says, “Barbie began when Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, saw her daughter, Barbara, playing with paper dolls. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for little girls at the time, as paper dolls were a popular toy. But Ruth noticed something interesting — her daughter enjoyed imagining the dolls in grown-up scenarios and not as infants. She suggested to Mattel the possibility of an adult female doll, one that could give young girls inspiration for the future. The idea was rejected, though, because executives felt that girls would not have enough interest in a potentially expensive doll.

With her idea in mind she traveled to Europe, and Handler discovered a popular German doll named Lilli. She brought the doll back to the United States and, using Lilli for inspiration, completed the design for Barbie. (The doll is named Barbie, of course, after Handler’s daughter, Barbara.) With skepticism, Mattel finally agreed to produce the doll and introduce her during the 1959 American Toy Fair in New York City. Barbie proved to be a huge success with young girls and still remains one of the world’s most recognizable toys.

The Ken doll was introduced two years later in 1961, and Barbie has amassed her own posse of friends over the years. She continues to capitalize on trends — recent Barbies come tricked out with iPods — and serious collectors looking for a nostalgia pay large sums of money for vintage Barbie dolls.”

Full Article: http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/barbie.htm

Idiom of the Day

Barbie Doll

Meaning: A pretty, giddy girl or woman.

Example: Ask that Barbie doll if she wants to go on a date!