I was a very lonely only child growing up in the 1950s. Being raised with mentally ill family and neglected I turned to living in my imagination and building my own family.
“Barbie was officially born at the American International Toy Fair in NYC on March 9, 1959. She wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit, a topknot ponytail and came as a blonde or brunette. Her promo read “New for ’59, The Barbie Doll: A Shapely Teenage Fashion Model”. Her clothes were created by Mattel designer Charlotte Johnson and handmade by homeworkers in Japan where the first dolls were manufactured. At $3 apiece, 350,000 Barbies were sold that first year. Wisely, Mattel acquired the rights to the Bild Lilli doll in 1964 and halted production.”
I ran out and got my first Barbie after I saw the commercial for her on tv. I had a lot of them and made sure I purchased every new outfit that came out. My Barbies became my role models and family. Barbie taught me I didn’t have to grow up and be a wife, mother, teacher or secretary. Barbie was savvy and had careers like being an entertainer on stage. As a singer she wore the a black sequin mermaid gown with long black gloves and high heel pumps. The name of the outfit is “Solo in the Spotlight “. I wanted to grow up and be an entertainer and wear a great tight sequin gown. Barbie said I could be successful for me and didn’t need to have a man to take care of me. That’s quite a message in 1959.
Barbie was strong. Barbie was sexy. She had big boobs. I wanted big boobs. She had all the latest fashions too. They made one wedding dress outfit but that seemed awkward because Ken had not come on the market. It was like they made it to placate the marriage myth to young girls. Oh yeah and after the career go get married. Little girls love weddings. That’s because little girls don’t know what marriage is and that they need a man in the picture. It’s all about the DRESS. That how I eventually tied the knot.
I wonder how Barbie’s marriage to Ken Carson ended??
It was Barbie who set the stage for my future as a creative artist not my real family. She was different in the world of dolls. I was different in the world of girls. I was encouraged to be creative. I pursued a career in fashion illustration. She also inspired me to be a compulsive clothes shopper .
By the way I did get married and I have a wonderful son Dan who attends Colgate University and made the Dean’s List this year!!
Who knew the power of a little plastic doll.
My fashion designs and illustrations from the 1960s – 1970s.