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Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance,
and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll's chest,
which had distinct breasts. Barbie's appearance has been changed many times,
most notably in 1971 when the doll's eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having
the demure sideways glance of the original model.
Barbie was one of the first toys to have a marketing strategy based extensively on television
advertising, which has been copied widely by other toys. It is estimated that over a billion Barbie
dolls have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries, with Mattel claiming that three Barbie dolls
are sold every second.
The standard range of Barbie dolls and related accessories are manufactured to approximately
1/6th scale, which is also known as playscale. Barbie products include not only the range of dolls
with their clothes and accessories, but also a huge range of Barbie branded goods such as books,
fashion items and video games. Barbie has appeared in a series of animated films and makes a
brief guest appearance in the 1999 film Toy Story 2.
Almost uniquely for a toy fashion doll, Barbie has become a cultural icon and has been given
honors that are rare in the toy world. In 1974 a section of Times Square in New York City was
renamed Barbie Boulevard for a week, while in 1985 the artist Andy Warhol created a painting of Barbie.
A known disease in this doll world generally called: the "Barbie-Syndrome" is a desire,
to look like a doll. The case of an American woman „Cindy Jackson“, who had a total of
30 surgeries done to herself during 20 Years spent more than $ 50.000.
There are even men to be changed into Ken with a couple of beauty surgeries-
(although there is no such name as a "Ken-Syndrome" ).
Best known German example is the pinup model „Angela Vollrath“, she declared to be
"Miss Barbie" in person and is trying to adapt her personal appearance as accurate as possible
to her example, with countless cosmetic operations.
Parodies and processes
Barbie has often been referenced in popular culture and is frequently the target of parody.
Some of these occasions include
In 1997, the Danish-Norwegian pop-dance group Aqua released a song called Barbie Girl.
It contained lyrics such as "You can brush my hair / Undress me everywhere" and used graphics
similar to the pink Barbie logo. Mattel argued that this constituted a trademark infringement and
filed a defamation lawsuit against MCA Records on September 11.1997.
In July 2002, Judge Alex Kozinski ruled that the song was protected as a parody under the
First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
A commercial by automobile company Nissan featuring dolls similar to Barbie and Ken was the
subject of another lawsuit in 1997. In the commercial, a female doll is lured into a car by a doll
resembling GI Joe to the dismay of a Ken-like doll, accompanied by Van Halen's version of
You Really Got Me. According to the makers of the commercial, the dolls' names were Roxanne,
Nick and Tad. Mattel claimed that the commercial had done "irreparable damage" to its products,
but lost the copyright infringement lawsuit.
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