Wasn't the Barbie Doll so controversial! Do a search today and the first item is "Barbie's new shapes: Tall, petite and curvy". That was news yesterday from from USA Today for all of America: Barbie is out in three new body shapes to make her look more like the girls who play with her.
That highlights the largest controversy over her size and shape when first released in 1959. Barbie's 1/6 scale 11 1/2 inch size/proportions put her at 5 ft 9 inches weighing 110 pounds. That was considered 35 pounds underweight at the time. She would have had measurements of 36-18-33, and experts say that there was a lack of body fat required for a woman to menstruate.
It wasn't that this was a mistake. There were books that accompaigned her with instructions on How to Lose Weight advising 'Don't Eat'.
Another controversy was with Barbie's chest. The articles at the time describe it as having 'distinct breasts'. We all agree now that this was a metaphoric expression for over-endowment to the extreme.
Barbie's existence as a doll and product was also a controversy. The doll was modelled after a German Doll 'Bild Lilli' and Mattel 'acquired' the rights and stopped production of Lilli. What followed was ,a law suit over the nature of Mattell's claims to being the original designer and over the 'rights' and what was included. The German maker settled out of court. It seems to me Mattellikely got off easy on this one.
Despite, and in spite of, these issues, Barbie became a cultural icon. There are so many occupations for Barbie - Miss Astronaut Barbie (1965), Doctor Barbie (1988) and Nascar Barbie (1998) are a few highlights. The 50th Anniversary in 2009 included a runway show in New York.