#N12 BK: The evolution of Barbie

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NEW YORK -

Barbie is turning 59 years old Friday.

She was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, the founder of the Mattel toy company.

Handler was inspired by her daughter Barbara when she created the line of popular figures. 

The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra bathing suit and was available as both a blonde or a brunette. 

        

                          1959                                                     1971                                                               1980 

MORE:  Barbie Honors Global Role Models | The history of International Women's Day  | Word on the Street: International Women’s Day. 

In 1961, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ken, was introduced as a figure.  In 1980, a Latina and African-American Barbie were created.

Over the years, Barbie changed her look and had various careers including a politician who ran for president in 1992.

Some have viewed the doll as a symbol of female independence, but Barbie has also faced her fair share of criticism over the years.

Many have spoken out about Barbie's body, noting her proportions convey an unrealistic body image to young girls.

Others have criticized the lack of diversity in the Barbie line. However, Barbie says it will be honoring women all across the world with the release of 17 new dolls in 2018.

1999                                                                                                                                          2005                                                                  2018                                                1999                     

The company made the announcement in a press release on its website Tuesday, just one day before International Women’s Day.

Barbie says the dolls are modeled after women who come from diverse backgrounds and fields and who are breaking boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls.

In addition, Barbie says it is also honoring 14 modern-day role models through its 'Sheroes' program, which is short for 'She Heroes.'

Some of the new dolls will be modeled after filmmaker Patty Jenkins, snowboarding champion Chloe Kim, and boxing champion Nicola Adams and historical figure Amelia Earhart.

Barbie has also launched the social media campaign  #MoreRoleModels - a global call to action by asking fans to tag and share the female role models that inspire them.

Barbie began the Sheroes program in 2015 when the company says a greater focus on role models became a cornerstone for the company. 

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