Not-for-Kids Origins

Born in Germany in 1952, the inspiration for America’s most famous doll was a saucy high-end prostitute named Lilli. First created as a comic-strip character within the Hamburg newspaper Bild-Zeitung, the Bild Lilli doll became so popular that she was immortalized in plastic — and sold as an adult novelty, consistent with Robin Gerber, the author of Barbie and Ruth.Sex Dolls

“Lilli dolls might be bought in tobacco shops, bars and adult-themed toy stores,” Gerber writes. “Men got Lilli dolls as gag gifts at bachelor parties, put them on their car dashboard, dangled them from the car mirror , or gave them to girlfriends as a suggestive keepsake.”The proto-Barbie was just shy of a foot tall, with bulging breasts and a platinum-blonde ponytail, made up for an evening on the town with red puckered lips and blue eye shadow. Although Barbie’s curvy proportions are modeled after Lilli’s, the German doll’s heavy makeup and suggestively arched eyebrows didn’t carry over to the American version. The dolls even have tellingly different feet, consistent with M.G. Lord, the author of Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized  Sbobbet
Biography of a true Doll.Unlike Barbie, Lilli doesn’t have an arched foot with itty-bitty toes. She doesn’t even have a foot,” Lord writes. “The end of her leg is cast within the shape of a stiletto-heeled pump and painted a glossy blackIn the comics, Lilli was witty, irreverent and sexually uninhibited. One strip, summarized by Lord, shows Lilli covering her naked body with a newspaper and explaining to a lover , “We had a fight and he took back all the presents he gave me.” Another shows Lilli during a bikini; when a policeman tells her that two-piece swimsuits are illegal, she says, “Oh, and in your opinion, which part should I take off?Nonetheless, Lilli dolls were soon coveted by children also as adults. They caught the attention of 15-year-old Barbara Handler on a 1956 vacation in Switzerland together with her mother, Ruth — a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. Ruth Handler brought three of the dolls home together with her to California, per TIME. Three years later — on today , March 9, in 1959 — she introduced her own adaptation at the American International Toy Fair in ny . The new doll was named Barbie, after Handler’s daughter.By the time Barbie turned 50, in 2009, Mattel had sold quite 1 billion copies of the doll, partly by “cultivating its wholesome image,” consistent with TIME. But Handler acknowledged that Barbie was undeniably sexier than most American dolls of her day. She didn’t see anything wrong thereupon , consistent with her 2002 obituary within the ny Times.“Every female child needed a doll through which to project herself into her dream of her future,” she said during a 1977 interview, as quoted within the obituary. “If she was getting to do role playing of what she would be like when she was 16 or 17, it had been a touch stupid to play with a doll that had a flat chest. So I gave it beautiful breasts.” Star Wars Casino

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