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A (Feminist) Defense of Barbie as She Turns 60

Barbie has just turned 60, a long lifespan for a toy. But then Barbie has always been more than a toy—much more.  She was the brainchild of Ruth Handler, a savvy, stubborn Jewish businessman woman (her husband Elliot was the second half of Mattel) who got the idea watching her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls. These dolls were women, and integral to their charm was the fact that they came with numerous outfits and could be endlessly redressed. Handler envisioned a plastic, 3-D version of the doll, which would have represented a significant departure from the baby-and-little-girl dolls of the period.