(CBS DETROIT) - On March 9, 1959, the Barbie doll debuted for the first time.
The first doll was displayed at the American Toy Fair in New York City.
The 11-inch doll was the first mass-produced toy doll in the country with adult features, according to the History Channel.
Ruth Handler came up with the idea for Barbie dolls after seeing her daughter ignore her baby dolls and play with paper dolls of adult women. Handler co-founded Mattel Inc., the toy manufacturer, with her husband in 1945.
Initially, Barbie was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic strip character, and was marketed as a gag gift towards adult men, which later became popular among children.
Handler bought the rights to Lilli, made her own version and named it Barbie, after her daughter Barbara.
According to the History Channel, in 1955, the doll was sponsored by the "Mickey Mouse Club" television show and became the first toy marketed towards kids through commercials.
The Barbie doll generated huge sales and was met with both positive and negative reactions.
Many saw the Barbie doll as changing the narrative surrounding the gender role narrative at the time, as she had a series of jobs, including doctor, pilot and Olympic athlete, to name a few.
On the negative side of reactions, some saw Barbie, with her Dreamhouse and many outfits, as promoting a materialistic lifestyle to young children.
In addition, many people had many issues with Barbie's appearance. If she were a real person, her measurements would be unrealistic, and people claimed it could create a negative body image for young girls.
Regardless of people's thoughts on Barbie, merchandise related to the doll surpassed 1 billion dollars annually by 1993.
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