No one toy has produced such admiration — and controversy — over the years as Barbie. The daughter of creator Ruth Handler inspired the plastic doll, introduced in 1959 by Mattel. The toy company sold 350,000 of the dolls during the first year of production and hasn't slowed down since.
However, her stint as one of the most iconic and popular children's toys hasn't been without controversy. Parents and children's advocates have criticized Mattel for creating the doll in unrealistic proportions — taken to real-life sizes, Barbie would stands about six feet tall with a 39-inch bust, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips. The latest controversy emerged late last year when Tokidoki Barbie, complete with tattoos and a skeleton t-shirt, outraged parents. The outrage was misplaced, though — the doll was more for Tokidoki fans, rather than tweens.
Also, an early version of Barbie came with a scale permanently set at 110 pounds with a weight loss book that advised girls to not eat to keep their figures.
Still, we love Barbie! Who hasn't had a few — or a few hundred — of the dolls in their closets? Plus, Ken is a dreamboat.
We also have fond memories of creating several weddings between Barbie and Ken during our childhoods (hey, they like to renew their vows every week!) with guests that included G.I. Joe, Optimus Prime and Teddy Ruxpin.
There's still a lot we don't know about our favorite childhood pal. Luckily, Mattel has all the stats for us:
So, here's to you, Barbie! We can't wait to see what the next 53 years bring.
Images courtesy Mattel/Ketchum PR