The now-legendary doll was conceived by Ruth Handler, a daughter of Polish immigrants, said Gerber, author of the newly published "Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her." She and her husband, Elliott, owned Mattel until a scandal involving accusations of cooked books drove them out in 1975, Gerber said.
Handler, who died in 2002, used to watch her own daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls. Then, on a trip to Europe, Barbara became fascinated with a buxom doll that Gerber said was based on a female German cartoon character, named Lilli, who used sex to get what she wanted.
"My guess is she didn't know what it was when she bought it," because at that point, four years after the Lilli doll's release, it had landed in European toy stores, the author explained.Handler took the doll back to the states and insisted Mattel designers get to work.
"Who would have thought," Gerber said. Barbie was thought up by a woman and modeled on a cartoon character "who was essentially a prostitute."
Comment: Completely not surprised. Sadly some like the woman below see Barbie as the representation of womanhood:
Cindy Jackson, a 53-year-old woman inspired by Barbie to do much more than collect dolls and splurge on matching outfits.
Over the course of more than two decades, Jackson has gone under the knife for 13 full-scale operations, including multiple procedures each time, and hundreds of less intrusive cosmetic tune-ups in order to achieve the "all-American beauty" look she said Barbie represents.
More on Barbie's measurements:
Ruth Handler, Whose Barbie Gave Dolls Curves, Dies at 85
... Barbie's figure created unrealistic expectations for young girls that could lead to low self-esteem. People often joked that Barbie's measurements were not humanly possible. But in fact it was determined that if the 11 1/2-inch doll were 5-foot-6, her measurements would be 39-21-33. One academic expert calculated that a woman's chances of having Barbie's figure were less than 1 in 100,000.