It’s Barbie’s birthday on March 9, but didn’t you hear it’s rude to ask a lady her age?
Well, since you asked, the iconic fashion doll is celebrating her 58th birthday.
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The toy, manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on this day in 1959.
According to Mattel, it is estimated that over a billion Barbies have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries, with three dolls being sold every second.
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Barbie, or rather Barbara Millicent Roberts, has become a cultural icon over the years.
In a series of novels published by Random House in the 1960s, readers are introduced to Barbie’s parents, George and Margaret Roberts, from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin.
In 1974, a section of Times Square in New York City was renamed Barbie Boulevard for a week.
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In 1985, artist Andy Warhol created a painting of Barbie.
In 2016, an exhibit opened in Montreal’s les Cours Mont-Royal mall, featuring more than 1,000 Barbie dolls, including special editions of stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Beyoncé, Kate Middleton and Grace Kelly.
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She has an on-off romantic relationship with her boyfriend, Ken Carson, who first appeared in 1961.
Barbie has owned over 40 pets, including cats, dogs, horses, a panda, a lion cub and a zebra.
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She has owned a wide range of vehicles, including pink Corvette convertibles, trailers and jeeps.
An accomplished woman, Barbie has taken on the role of Miss Astronaut Barbie, Doctor Barbie and NASCAR Barbie.
She also holds a pilot’s license, allowing her to operate commercial airliners and work as a flight attendant.
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Body image debate
Over the years, the fashion doll has also come into much criticism for her “unrealistic” body shape.
Some argued her measurements, at an 18″ waist, 33″ hips and 36″ bust, don’t accurately portray the average female body.
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Mattel responded to the wide-spread criticism in an article in TIME last January, announcing it will start selling the fashion-forward dolls with differing shapes and sizes: tall, curvy and petite.
The company will also be adding some diversity into the mix by selling figurines that feature seven skin tones, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles.
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The move was part of a larger strategy to revamp the iconic figure, including the unveiling of 78 new dolls with some based on superheros and real teenagers.