When it comes to fashion dolls, Barbie is undoubtedly the one that stands out from all the rest. Created by American businesswoman Ruth Handler and manufactured by Mattel in 1959, Barbie has become an iconic figurehead for the brand’s extensive range of dolls and accessories. For over six decades, she has continued to be a major part of the toy market and represents female independence and an idealized lifestyle. Her success over the decades has resulted in a multimedia franchise, with video games, computer-animated films, and a live-action movie set to be released in 2023. To celebrate Barbie’s long history as a cultural phenomenon, here is our list of the 5 best documentaries about Barbie dolls. From discussing her immense influence on social values to exploring her reinvigoration in recent years, these documentaries provide an insight into the life and legacy of one of the most popular dolls in the world.
1. Why Barbie Matters
Barbie has been a source of fascination and controversy since her inception. For some, she is a symbol of the oppressive gender roles imposed on young girls, while for others, she is an empowering figure who embodies independence and strength. Now, the iconic doll comes to life in Greta Gerwig’s new film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. On this episode of Arts Unveiled, we explore the question: Does Barbie matter in today’s society? How has she evolved over time to become more relevant and empowering?
2. The Secret Life of Barbie
This documentary documents the life of Barbie dolls through history.
3. Living Barbie
Barbie has come a long way since her German doll ancestry. For 50 years she has captivated the imaginations of young girls and boys alike from all around the globe. Standing tall and iconic, Barbie is one of the most beloved dolls to ever exist – an unmistakable symbol of femininity and fun-loving fashion. As we celebrate Barbie’s milestone birthday, let’s take a moment to appreciate her enduring legacy and timeless appeal. Here’s to the next 50 years!
4. The History of Barbie | A Guided Tour by Trixie Mattel
5. Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie • A Hulu Original Documentary
Barbie has been inspiring young women for 60 years. Her 11.5 inch plastic frame contains a powerful message, embodying the ideals of fashion and femininity in modern society. This documentary goes behind the scenes to explore how Barbie’s influence has evolved over time and examines how her presence continues to shape attitudes towards female identity today.