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Barbie, Identity and Representation
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Barbie, Identity and Representation


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About This Lesson

Barbie is a toy doll that was created in 1959 by businesswoman Ruth Handler, who co-founded the toy company Mattel with her husband. The first Barbie doll debuted at the New York Toy Fair in March 1959. Handler didn’t want Barbie to be portrayed only as a wife and mother, but also as a “career woman.” Barbie sold 300,000 dolls in that first year and quickly became a household name and its success continued from there. Over the years, Barbie has changed and evolved. The toy company has made various attempts at diversifying the doll in terms of race, ethnicity, disability, body size, etc. to be more inclusive and more reflective of our diverse society. The topic of Barbie raises issues of identity, diversity, representation and bias and the 2023 release of the film Barbie has ignited much public conversation and social commentary on the topic.

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about Barbie, reflect on their own experiences and opinions about Barbie, explore whether Barbie reflects our society and consider what identities may be missing from Barbie’s collection.




Lesson Plan
February 28, 2024
152.38 KB


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