Barbie doll wiki: Why were black Barbie dolls suddenly available?

Have you ever asked yourself why suddenly in 1980 black Barbie dolls became available? It seems that the year 1980 marked one turning point in the barbie world. The why is a really good question. I’m not 100% but I think I read in a book that a law was changed by the time of 1980 and it became possible for Mattel to produce black Barbie dolls that were called “Barbie” for the first time. Sadly I wasn’t able to find out the name of the law.

I’ve been searching on the internet for the correct information but I found nothing. The correct information is necessary I think. Anyway I don’t know if you realized it or not but before the black version of Barbie was called Christie. She’s a friend of Barbie, not Barbie herself.

In a way this is very astonishing since nobody ever thought of a black Barbie doll. That is at least my impression. What we should not forget is that she still had Caucasian features. In my opinion they are not 100% copies of their white sisters but they have a similarity of at least 70%. Of course the hair color is different. The make-up is different, adjusted to the skin tone. That’s not bad. In my eyes we got some very interesting variations through it. Let’s have for instance a look at Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie in the Caucasian version and the African-America version.

Not the only change in 1980

What we can see from the catalogs is that in 1980 the variety of Barbie dolls became much broader than it was before. Suddenly we saw an Asian Barbie doll and a Hispanic Barbie for the first time beside the black Barbie dolls. The range of products extended. We were introduced to the “Dolls of the world” line. Seen from a marketing point of view Mattel maybe now wanted to teach something.

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“Oriental Barbie”, lançada em 1980 pela Mattel. Sob o slogan “Meet the Barbie from Hong Kong, and learn about the orient”, essa pérola chinesa chegou quando a linha “Dolls Of The World”, começada em 1979, ainda estava engatinhando. O molde facial criado para ela foi posteriormente usado para uma das amigas da loira, mais conhecida como Kira. Com uma franja que é um pesadelo à parte, essa maravilhosa está toda original, faltando apenas o leque de papelão (veio sem, infelizmente), e o medalhão, que optei por não usar. #OrientalBarbie #HongKong #DollsOfTheWorld #BarbieAntiga #BarbieVintage #Barbie #Mattel #BonecaAntiga #BonecasAntigas #BrinquedoAntigo #BrinquedosAntigos #FashionDoll #VintageFashionDoll #Boneca #Bonecas #Brinquedo #Brinquedos #Vintage #Fashion #Doll #Dolls #Early80s #Anos80 #1980

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Guilherme J. Foti (@guifoti) am

What we can definitive say is that the 1980s were a decade of big variety concerning Barbie dolls. The Superstar Barbie was launched successfully in 1977 with a new head mold and maybe they wanted to enlarge the success by adding a variety of different Barbie dolls. Music became a very big topic in the Barbie world, not just as a listener but as a musician herself Barbie reinvented herself several times. Barbie and the Rockers sold well.

Seen from a point of view in 2019 the 80s are a very interesting decade for Barbie collectors. Again you find collectors who seek their childhood treasures, collectors who were not even born in that era, collectors who collect all decades and some specialized collectors (who e.g only collect the clothes from the 1980s). We find a big variety. It’s not just one topic like in the 1990s the hair- thing.

Twins or no twins? That’s the question!

Recently I got my second Hispanic Barbie (aka Rio Senorita). I wanted to complete my first one. She only came with her dress. I put the new one in my showcase and realized that although it’s the same doll and they were made in the same country the facial painting is completely different. Each of them is beautiful but very different. I already heard it from other collectors but it was hard for me to contribute something to this topic because I only had one. Have a look at my beauties…they are from 1979.Close up from my new Hispanic Barbie. Note the earrings used for Ebony or Black Barbie.

My new Hispanic Barbie

Here is her twin.

you can see the different ribbons used for the dresses.