The List: Facts about candidate Barbie

Barbie has decided to run for President. (Photo courtesy of Mattel) Barbie has decided to run for President. (Photo courtesy of Mattel)

Mattel Corporation recently announced that its Barbie doll is running for president. The toy company is releasing a new 2012 “Barbie I Can Be…President” doll in June.

Those who are fed up with both the Democrats and the Republicans might find Barbie a refreshing choice, says Mattel. She’s starting her own political B Party. This is her fifth run for president. She made her first run in 1992, then again in 2000, 2004 and 2008. This week The List takes a second look at the popular doll.

  • Creator -Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration. Handler’s daughter was called Barbara. Handler died in 2002 at 85.
  • First doll - The doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York City on March 9, 1959. The date is considered Barbie’s birthday.
  • Who is she? - Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. In a series of novels published by Random House in the 1960s, her parents’ names were given as George and Margaret Roberts from the fictional town of Willows, Wis.
  • She’s popular - Barbie has the largest Facebook fan page of any doll with more than four million likes on Facebook,
  • A lot of cloth - More than 105 million yards of fabric have gone into making Barbie and friends’ fashions, making Mattel one the largest apparel manufacturers in the world.
  • Google - You get 360 million hits when you google Barbie.
  • Big debut year - More than 300,000 Barbie dolls were sold in 1959.
  • She’s an expensive girl - $27,450 was the highest auctioned price for an original 1959 Barbie doll in mint condition.
  • A girl with a cause - The highest auctioned price of a Barbie doll was $302,500, with proceeds donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The one-of-a-kind doll was designed by international fine jewelry designer, Stefano Canturi and included a stunning diamond necklace featuring a one-carat Fancy Vivid pink diamond
  • Career girl - Barbie has had more than 130 careers in her lifetime, including astronaut, Olympian, dentist, teacher and veterinarian.
  • She’s an employer - More than 100 people, designers, seamstresses, pattern makers and stylists are needed to create a single Barbie outfit and look.
  • Girl power - According to Mattel, more than 90 percent of girls ages 3-10 own at least one Barbie doll.
  • Sold out -Mattel says it does not know precisely how many dolls have been sold since 1959, but it’s in the billions.
  • Barbie’s platform - So if she’s running for president, what’s her platform? She says: “To encourage young girls to think bigóand realize that they too could run for office. She “calls for girls of all ages to ‘B inspired,’ ‘B informed’ and ‘B involved.’”
  • Her campaign wardrobe - Barbie doll’s pink skirt suit for her 2012 campaign was designed by CFDA award-winning fashion designer, Chris Benz. The dress was modeled on a outfit he designed for first lady Michelle Obama. Over the years, 75 famous designers have outfitted Barbie.
  • She likes shoes - There have been more than 1,000 different shoe styles in Barbie doll’s closet.
  • Loves pets - Barbie has owned more than 50 pets, including dogs, horses, ponies, cats, a parrot, a chimpanzee, a panda, a lion club, a giraffe and a zebra.
  • International lady - Barbie has represented more than 40 different nationalities.
  • Who does the makeup? - Ten artists work on one Barbie using water-based acrylics and tiny sable brushes.
  • Movie girl - She has starred in 23 direct-to-DVD movies, and she’s coming out in a new one next year. More than 100 million Barbie DVDs have been purchased since 2001.
  • How big? - Barbie stands at 11.5 inches tall. According to the New York Times, at a 1/6 scale, that would make her 5 feet 9 inches tall. Her vital statistics have been estimated at 36 inches (bust), 18 inches (waist) and 33 inches (hips).
  • Boyfriend - Barbie never married. Her longtime boyfriend was Ken, but the couple split in February 2010.
  • Weight, no problem - Barbie always watches her weight and weighs in at just 7.25 ounces.
  • Costs - The first Barbie doll sold in 1959 cost $3. The presidential doll will be available in June at retailers nationwide for $13.99.
  • Big seller - Barbie is the No. 1 doll property in the U.S. and the No. 1 worldwide property in the traditional toy industry.
  • Poses - According to Mattel, Barbie has 110 poses.
  • Collectors - It’s estimated there are more than 100,000 Barbie collectors, 90 percent of whom are women with an average age of 40. Forty-five percent of them spend more than $1,000 a year on their dolls.
  • Transportation - Her favorite car is a Volkswagen New Beetle. She also rides a Harley-Davidson.
  • She speaks - In 1992 Teen Talk Barbie was introduced at 1992 American International Toy Fair, and we first heard what those perfect candy-pink lips could say: “I can’t wait for summer!” In 1969, Mattel manufactured a pull-string version with only one sound bite. That doll lasted only one year; today, no one can remember what she said.
  • Favorite film - A Canadian newspaper polled its readers to find out Barbie’s favorite film. The readers voted “Gone With The Wind” as her all-time favorite.
  • Banned - Barbie was banned in Saudi Arabia in 2003 because she didn’t express Arab values. A doll called Fulla, who wears an Islamic headscarf, is popular in the Middle East. She was banned in Montpelier, Vt., in 2006.
  • Fantastic icon - “A fantastic icon contributes to culture by exaggerating what is actual, possible or conceivable,” said Mary F. Rogers, author of “Barbie Culture.” “Such an icon invites fantasy by taking the as-if or the fictive to its outer limits.”

Compiled by John Haydon, whose two daughters had Barbie dolls in their youth.
Sources: New York Times, Mattel Corporation, Wikipedia and Washington Times.

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