A popular doll line that has been around since 1959. Partly a revolution in doll design, because until then most fashion dolls were made to look like little girls. Barbie was made to look like a young woman. When she was first created, her figure was more akin to that of a normal young woman, but later adjustments changed her dimensions in different ways so that she would maintain a more natural figure under the thickly hemmed clothes.Barbie is also the subject of controversy, due to her figure being stylized and therefore impossible in Real Life, and thereby supposedly giving girls an "unrealistic" role model, though her figure was slightly modified in the late 1990s in response to these complaints. Mattel is careful to make sure Barbie's image remains "wholesome" and getting dolls into roles that were once seen as unsuitable for women. Mattel featured a NASA Astronaut Barbie just two years after Valentina Tereshkova (from the Soviet Union) became the first woman to go into space and Mattel has been releasing "Barbie for President" dolls since 1992.The original storyline attached to the dolls was that of Barbie Roberts, a teenager and the oldest of many sisters, and her career as a model. Her surname and age have now been long since forgotten, and she generally plays adult characters, being showcased in various careers. Barbie has also been featured in a series of animated direct-to-video features since 2001 (each with a tie-in toy line), most of them based on Fairy Tales, but also including originals like the Fairytopia series. They tend to be accused of Tasting Like Diabetes, especially the newer ones, but have surprisingly strong, positive portrayals of women: i.e., the girls help each other without second intention and don't always bond only over guys.Barbie has become a stock parody over the years; The Simpsons has Malibu Stacy (Lisa's frustration with a talking model that had the personality of The Ditz was the focus of a whole episode, inspired by a real controversy over a talking Barbie which could say, "Math class is tough!"), and Rugrats had Angelica's favorite toy, the Cynthia doll. Then she's finally parodied herself in Pixar's Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.Barbie got her own webseries called Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse in 2012, which features her and her family and friends in a Reality ShowSitcom with a wide demographic appeal.
Currently the Barbie line has two main categories:
The dolls who are usually seen in stores, this line has a few sub-categories:
The most poseable dolls in the entire playline, these dolls are No Name Given, with the name on the box being the style of the doll, though the most recent set (Swapping Styles) have had a webseries similar to Mattels other line, Monster High, on the Barbie Web site.
As of 2011, the line has been reverted to a sort of Fashion Fever line, with Barbie, Teresa, Raquelle and Nikki taking over and eliminating the No Name Given element. It was also the first line to include Ryan
A set of all black dolls featuring Barbie's friend Grace who has moved to Chicago, she meets two best friends (Trichelle and Kara) and participate in a pseudo-tutoring program (The Little Sibling program, featuring Dajh's clone as the first little brother).
Barbie has a huge Periphery Demographic who are in it for the fashion and wit, so Mattel invokedcreated this half of the Barbie line specifically for them. The dolls are usually not sold in stores (unless it's a store exclusive) but on the Barbie collector Web site. Sub-categories include:
Background Halo: The cape worn by Barbie as "Fantasy Goddess of the Arctic" has what appears to be a hood, but acts more like this.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Now the Trope Namer, as the dolls are infamous for it, especially poor Ken. More recent iterations have modeled patterns over their featureless groins to resemble underwear.
The Bechdel Test: Surprisingly, several of the movies pass this. The girls discuss guys once in a while, but they more often talk about friendship and their own goals.
Beware the Nice Ones: A common aspect in the movies. Do not threaten Barbie's friends if you know what's good for you.
Breast Expansion: Inverted. Ever since the 1990s. The original Barbie was much more well-endowed, something still commonly seen in parodies; Barbie is still somewhere in D-cup range, but realistically so.
Also, in two of the three Barbie movies which are set in Fairytopia (respectively the first part, Fairytopia, and the third part, Magic of the Rainbow), where the Big Bad of several movies gets hit by the Power of the Rainbow and (after getting swirled about in the first movie) "explodes" in a rain of rainbow-colored sparkles.
Five-Token Band: Teresa's the Hispanic one, Raquelle's the Asian one, Nikki took over Christie's role as the black one, Summer's the Irish one, and Barbie's the white one, though you can get her in any ethnicity. This turned out to be a problem when Mattel released Oreo Barbie with the African-American option. Oops.
Fleeting Demographic Rule: Barbie as the Princess and the Popstar comes seven years after the first Princess and Pauper movie.
Barbie and the Pink Shoes has a part in which Barbie visit the world of Swan Lake, a story that her franchise adapted 10 years earlier.
Framing Device: Several movies, especially her earlier ones, had Barbie telling the story to Kelly, and then it would cut to the actual story, and then Barbie would take up the narration again as the story ended.
Hormone-Addled Teenager: Despite the fact that Barbie is technically an adult. One of her "talking" lines drew a lot of criticism for having phrases like "Let's go shopping!", "Math is hard!" and "Will we ever have enough clothes?" A group called Barbie Liberation decided to do something about that, swapping out Barbie's voice boxes with those from G.I. Joe, so Barbie instead said things like "Vengeance is mine!"
It's Fake Fur, It's Fine: Officially, she wears fake fur. Of course, the fur actually is fake, but in the early years, that was likely for economic reasons.
"I Want" Song: Several of her movies feature this, often as duets between the leads. An example is "I Need to Know" from Barbie as the Island Princess, amongst the more usual "I Want" Songs like "Free" from her first movie musical, Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper.
Pink Means Feminine / Pink Product Ploy: Barbie is all about piiiink. Her logo is pink. Her Dream Car and Dream House are pink. Packaging for most of the dolls and accessories are pink. One of her first outfits, "Enchanted Evening", has a pink evening gown.
Her signature color is "Barbie Pink" and can't be used by another company without getting permission from Mattel. However, it should be noted that when other products try to do the Pink Product Ploy, it's usually a very close comparison to Barbie pink (never a darker or lighter shade of pink). It is very much the Gold (Pink) Standard to which other pink products aspire to.
Pragmatic Adaptation: Barbie in the Nutcracker and stories like Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper could count as this.
Pretty in Mink: Loads of her outfits (officially being fake is the only nod to that trope, so the rest count as this).
This started as early as the white fur wraps she wears in the "Enchanted Evening" and "Gay Parisienne" dolls, and the white fur jacket she wears for the "Icebreaker" doll.
For that matter, it seems 90% of the time when one of her outfits has fur, it's white.
Princesses Prefer Pink: Some of the movies have princesses wearing pink clothes, especially if Barbie is playing a princess.
Retraux: Mattel revived Barbie's original cursive logo in 2000, and again in 2009.
The Rival: The recent movies have Raquelle in this role.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: A Double Subversion in one of her fairy tale movies, where Barbie's character actually tried to kill the villain. Then it turned out that her newfound magical powers couldn't be used to harm anyone.