Earlier this month, a decades-old doll broke the internet. When posters for Greta Gerwig’s upcoming “Barbie” film hit Twitter, fans fawned over the bright plastic-y imagery and the satirical spin.
Margot Robbie will step into the plastic heels as the titular doll while Ryan Gosling will play Ken, Barbie’s toned beau. The rest of the cast – other Barbies and side characters based on real dolls from toy company Mattel – are played by a who’s who of Hollywood starlets, including Issa Rae and American Ferrera.
“She’s everything… he’s just Ken.” posters for the film read. So what makes her everything? Here’s a look at the doll’s history.
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How old is the Barbie doll?
First introduced in 1959, the Barbie doll is officially 64 years old.
If Barbie doesn’t exactly look like a baby boomer, it might be because when Barbie was released she was meant to be 19 and plastic dolls aren’t usually subject to the aging process.
When was the first Barbie made?
The first Barbie was released on March 9, 1959.
In subsequent years Mattel released Ken, a boyfriend doll for Barbie, a best friend named Midge and countless others.
In her lifespan, Barbie has existed in hundreds of different iterations: as an astronaut, a presidential candidate, an athlete and a glamour girl.
Not until twenty years after her release did Barbie begin to more fully resemble the American women it was meant to represent. In 1980, the first Black and Latina Barbies were introduced, though Mattel had previously released Christie, a friend of Barbie’s, who was Black.
What is Barbie’s full name?
Barbie is short for Barbara Millicent Roberts.
The name may seem old-school now but in 1959 – the year the first Barbie doll hit shelves – Barbara was the 11th most popular name for girls.
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Who created Barbie?
Barbie is a product of the toy company Mattel, a giant in the doll market. Mattel is also behind the popular American Girl and Polly Pocket dolls.
Ruth Handler, who cofounded Mattel with her husband Elliott, was the principal architect of the doll’s campaign. She was inspired by watching her daughter play with paper dolls resembling adult women – a departure from the typical baby doll popular at the time.
Barbie was designed in the image of Bild Lilli, a doll inspired by a German comic strip and originally marketed as a sex symbol before she became popular with children.
The first Barbie sported a striped, strapless swimsuit, a perky blonde ponytail, and a set of gold hoops.
When is National Barbie Day?
National Barbie Day is marked on Barbie’s birthday, celebrated each year on March 9.
Did Barbie have a boyfriend?
In 1961 Mattel followed up the launch of their popular Barbie doll with a beau to keep her company: Ken Carson.
Ruth and Elliott Handler had two children named Barbara and Ken.
Ken and Barbie have had an on-again-off-again relationship over the years, even calling it quits publicly in 2004 before reuniting seven years later.
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How tall is Barbie?
The Barbie doll is 11.5 inches tall, which converts to 5′ 9″ making her above average height for an American woman.
Barbie’s dimensions have been the subject of fierce debate over the years. Many critics have complained that Barbie’s lithe frame, breast and hip measurements promotes an unrealistic body image.
In 2016, in response to decades of backlash and declining sales, Mattel released three new Barbie models: petite, tall and curvy.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How old is Barbie? Details of doll’s history ahead of ‘Barbie’ movie