Toys are symbols of what adult life will be like. What your kids see, they emulate.
Jack Ryan, the Yale-educated designer who popularized Barbie, was a “full-blown seventies-style swinger” with “a manic need for sexual gratification.”
Ryan’s friend, Stephen Gnass, confides to the author: “When Jack talked about creating Barbie . . . it was like listening to somebody talk about a sexual episode, almost like listening to a sexual pervert . . .” Ryan took calls at Mattel from a madam and patronized “high-class call girls to streetwalkers,” including a “very thin and child-like” hooker.
And how did they invent Barbie?
In the mid 1940â€™s, the young ambitious duo Ruth and Elliot Handler, owned a company that made wooden picture frames. Elliot and his partner Harold Mattson built the samples and Ruth was in charge of marketing them. Elliot began to use the scraps of wood from picture frames to make doll furniture. This was the beginning of their toy business. It was in 1945 that Ruth and Elliot Handler joined with their close friend Harold Mattson to form a company that would be known for the most famous and successful doll ever created. This company would be named Mattel, MATT for Mattson, and EL for Elliot. Mattel continued to grow from a very profitable business into a corporate giant.
In the mid 1950â€™s, while visiting Switzerland, Ruth Handler purchased a German Lilli doll. Lilli was a shapely, pretty fashion doll first made in 1955. She was originally fashioned after a famous cartoon character in the West German Newsletter, Bild. Lilli was made of hard plastic with molded on shoes and earrings. She was available in 11 Â½” or 7″ in heights. Her hair was long and pulled back into a ponytail. There was a large wardrobe available for this doll. Lilli is the doll that would inspire Ruth Handler to design the Barbie doll.
And how did that doll come about?
She was originally marketed to adults in bars and tobacco shops as a joke or gag gift. Many parents considered her not appropriate for children. Ariel Levy refers to her as a “sex doll” in Female Chauvinist Pigs. A German brochure from the 1950s states that Lilli was “always discreet,” and that her wardrobe made her “the star of every bar.” Although the doll was originally not designed as a children’s toy, she eventually became popular with children.
This is what you’re giving your children, hoping they grow up to be something other than… hookers?