Prior to Barbie's debut, most toy dolls were made to look like babies or young children. Reportedly, Ruth Handler was inspired to create a new kind of doll after watching her daughter, Barbara, and her friends, playing with paper dolls. The girls gave their dolls adult clothing and roles, inspiring Handler to create a three-dimensional adult-figured dolls for preteens to play with. During a trip to Europe in the mid-1950s, Handler found a Lilli doll, shaped as a curvaceous adult. The Lilli doll was based on a working-class comic strip character that was not above using her beauty to attract men for material wealth. Lilli was originally marketed to adults, although children played with her as well. Handler believed that there was an opportunity in ...

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