From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- A diminutive of the female given name Barbara.
- A popular brand of fashion doll.
- Any stunningly beautiful, but stupid or shallow young woman, see bimbo.
Barbie is a best-selling fashion doll launched in 1959. The doll is produced by Mattel, Inc., and is a major source of revenue for the company. The American businesswoman Ruth Handler (1916-2002) is regarded as the creator of Barbie, and the doll's design was inspired by a German doll called Bild Lilli.
Barbie has been an important part of the toy fashion doll market for nearly fifty years, and has been the subject of numerous controversies and lawsuits, often involving parody of the doll and her lifestyle. In recent years, Barbie has faced increasing competition from the Bratz range of dolls.