PLEDGE NOW
Barbie Turns 50
Barbie, 1959. (Photo: Courtesy Mattel.)

Barbie, 1959. (Photo: Courtesy Mattel.)

Love them or hate them, everybody knows Barbie dolls. And this year, Barbie turns 50.

When she first showed up in 1959 — with those mile-long legs and trunks of cloths and, for heaven’s sakes, breasts — Barbie was rejected as way too sexual for American girls. Then she conquered the world. Feminists hated her impossibly svelte figure. Barbies flew off the shelves anyway.

And one woman created the whole phenom. She named Barbie for her daughter, Ken for her son. Modeled the doll on a German sex toy. And never apologized.

This hour, On Point: The woman who made Barbie.

You can join the conversation. What’s your Barbie story? Fifty years on, what’s Barbie’s legacy and impact on generations of girls?

Guests:

Joining us from Santa Barbara, Calif., is Robin Gerber, author of “Barbie and Ruth: The  Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.”

Read an excerpt from “Barbie and Ruth.”

And from Newton, Mass., is Sharlene Hesse-Biber, a sociologist at Boston College and the author of “Am I Thin Enough Yet? The Cult of Thinness and the Commercializaton of Identity.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 22, 2015
Crashed cars with airbags deployed are shown to visitors as part of the display of Toyota Motor Corp.'s safety performance standards at the automaker's exhibition hall in Toyota, central Japan. (Shuji Kajiyama/AP)

ISIS rolls on. A TPP vote. Biggest recall ever – airbags. And Letterman’s last bow. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 22, 2015
The Barden Bellas, the all-female a cappella group at the center of Pitch Perfect 2. (Richard Cartwright/Universal Pictures via AP)

Pitch Perfect 2 is the number one movie in the country, and it’s over the top on a capella.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 22, 2015
The Barden Bellas, the all-female a cappella group at the center of Pitch Perfect 2. (Richard Cartwright/Universal Pictures via AP)

Pitch Perfect 2 is the number one movie in the country, and it’s over the top on a capella.

 
May 22, 2015
Crashed cars with airbags deployed are shown to visitors as part of the display of Toyota Motor Corp.'s safety performance standards at the automaker's exhibition hall in Toyota, central Japan. (Shuji Kajiyama/AP)

ISIS rolls on. A TPP vote. Biggest recall ever – airbags. And Letterman’s last bow. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment