Barbie — the doll with the Dream House, who has had almost every job in the book, and whose very physique defies all laws of nature — has been a big deal for a long time.
Take a look back and see which Barbie phase you were born in. Or at least get a look at what Barbie was up to before you took all her clothes off and left her for your dog to destroy.
1959 Barbie, The Teen Fashion Model
via: Barbie MediaThe first iteration of Barbie looked like a delusional thirty-year-old who insisted she was a teen fashion model. But in 1959, really all you needed to be a fashion model was blonde hair and sunglasses, so this checks out. It should also be noted that Barbie didn't smile in her early days, probably because this was before men started telling women to do that, so we didn't know.
1960 Fashion Designer
via: Barbie MediaIn 1960, Barbie gets mature and moves on up. She's not modeling the clothes anymore — she's drawing them! And now that she's behind the camera, she's a brunette. Because that's a serious hair color for serious professionals who wear overly large bows.
1961 Registered Nurse
via: Barbie MediaBarbie went back to school again, and now she's a slightly unsettling nurse. Even if she does look a little less glam and a little more like a character from American Horror Story, this seems to be a much more stable career choice than fashion designer. You go, girl!
1962 Tennis Player
via: Barbie MediaIn 1962 Barbie decided to cut loose from all that working and take up a hobby. She chose tennis (because of the cute skirts), but being unable to bend your knees would be a bit of a setback. But the important thing is that she's finally having fun. Probably.
via: Barbie MediaIn 1963 Mattel introduced the world to Barbie's best friend, Midge. She was brought in to counter claims that Barbie was too sexy for little girls. Meaning, I guess, that she's Barbie's less attractive friend who Barbie hangs out with to make herself look good. She also conveniently came along two years after Ken, probably because Barbie was getting sick of hanging out with her boyfriend all the time and needed a girls night out. Midge has been discontinued and brought back at various points, eventually getting into her own controversy when she got pregnant.
1964 Swirl Ponytail Barbie
via: AmazonIn 1964, Barbie is really cutting loose. She's blonde again, and she's given up her difficult hobbies for a life of swimsuits and parties. She even comes with her own record player so the party comes to her. While she's obviously a party girl, this Barbie definitely means business — she comes with a separate pair of high heels that match her swimsuit.
via: Barbie MediaAll those beach parties with Midge and date nights with Ken still weren't enough to put a smile on Barbie's face. Maybe she was reflecting on the turbulent times America was facing having just dealt with the assassination of JFK. Maybe she felt stifled in a society where women weren't allowed to have credit cards or attend Ivy League schools. Or maybe she was sad that she had no pants.
1966 Barbie Color Magic
via: Barbie MediaBarbie Color Magic is still very serious, but she's now got full color makeup. We're entering the late 60's now, so she's starting to go to some very, very serious parties. We imagine this Barbie sits on a lot of oddly-shaped furniture and listens to funky flute music.
1967 Barbie Has ChangedThis is the beginning of Barbie's "mod" phase. She's got real eyelashes, a new face, and she can twist her waist. Who even needs a job? Also, can we talk about this ad? First of all, they got Marsha Brady to plug this Barbie, which automatically makes this A Very Cool Toy. And apparently you used to be able to trade in your old Barbies at toy stores for half off your new Barbie? This is something later generations would've appreciated, considering most of our parents are now dealing with crates of discarded, naked Barbies.
1968 Talking Barbie
via: Barbie MediaBy 1968, the women's liberation movement was picking up, and Barbie learned to talk. However, her vocabulary was limited to things like: "Would you like to go shopping?" "I have a date tonight." "Stacey and I are having a tea." (Poor Midge had been replaced.) Barbie is starting to loosen up, but she's still not much of a conversationalist.
1969 Twist Barbie
via: Barbie MediaIt's 1969, and things are getting weird. Barbie is starting to smile a little bit, because apparently she learned to dance. This Barbie had bendable legs and a waist you could turn. So, not only could she dance, she could turn around to make sure Midge wasn't following her. This was the year of the Manson Family Murders, so people were pretty paranoid.
1970 BarbieRosemary's Baby really did change everything, because by 1970 it was considered OK to have an oddly soothing older man's voice selling dolls to little girls. Also, all the Barbies can talk now, and twist, and turn, and be... British? "Shall we go to the cinema?," 1970 Barbie coos softly in her native-London accent. This is weird, wild stuff.
1971 Malibu Barbie (with towel)
via: Barbie MediaIn 1971 Barbie went back to the beach, got her iconic long blonde locks, and was finally starting to learn to be happy. I guess it's hard not to smile when you're in Malibu and you have a towel — your very own towel. Finally Barbie can stop begging Ken to let her use the towel he keeps in the back of his truck. Feminism is here and it is towels.
via: Barbie.comLike the other Barbies, 1972 Barbie can also talk, but you might not want to hear about some of the things she's seen. She's clearly on the run with a dramatic new haircut, and she has her own travel case (probably full of cash), phone, and TV for monitoring the situation. Save Barbie! Someone (Midge??) is after her!
1973 Quick Curl Barbie
via: Barbie MediaIn 1973, Barbie experienced a whole new emotion called surprise, as she now had quick curl hair which allowed for easy styling with a small set of tools. This would be shocking for any woman, so we can't fault her for being a little stunned. There was also a gas crisis; America was in the midst of the Watergate scandal, and that shirt looks really cold, so Barbie had a lot on her mind.
1974 Miss America
via: Barbie MediaJust to prove she can really do anything she wants, Barbie went ahead and won Miss America as a brunette. It's especially impressive considering all her competitors were regular-sized human women. We're just glad she's out of hiding.
1975 Olympic Skiier
via: Barbie MediaYou just have to have it all, don't you Barbie? Miss America just wasn't enough for this ruthless climber. Now she's in the Olympics doing a sport she's never done. Apparently one year of tennis lessons translates to Olympic level skiing for Barbie, who also came with a medal already on in case we didn't get the message.
via: Barbie MediaBarbie decides to put her serious expression and impossible physique to good use by going into ballet. This will likely be just another short-lived phase she'll eventually bail on, but for now, she's the picture of grace.
1977 Superstar Barbie
via: Barbie MediaCarter is president; Star Wars is in theaters, and the Concorde is getting people from New York to London in under 4 hours! This is a fast new world that calls for a fast new Barbie. This is when Barbie's look was revamped again into the version most of us are familiar with. She's gotten really into disco, and she's finally smiling because she's an actual Superstar. This was Barbie's first smile with teeth, so maybe she finally got her braces off.
1978 Barbie and Ken
via: Barbie MediaAround this time, Ken was also getting a fashionable new look as a Superstar. He has a tan as well as an upsetting amount of jewelry and a blue leisure suit that, today, would make him the king of just about any bar in Brooklyn. This is the period where Barbie and Ken basically look like they're planning to vote Carrie for prom queen as a joke. I feel bullied just looking at them.
1979 Barbie & Ken
via: Barbie MediaBy the end of the 70's, Barbie is back at the beach, and although we're happy she's happy with Ken, the matching swimsuits are a bit much. This is definitely the Barbie who will bring her BF everywhere whether you want her to or not. Hope you like awkward Ken conversation at your bachelorette parties, Midge and Stacy.
1980 African-American Barbie
via: Barbie MediaThis doll was literally called "Black Barbie". Meaning she is apparently still Barbie, but also black. Which raises a bunch of uncomfortable questions, but we trust she came about with very good intentions. This is simply the period where Mattel decided that Barbie wasn't so much a character as an ethereal spirit who could change ethnicity at will, which is neat. And she has a hair style and ensemble that reminds us of Uhura from Star Trek which is very, very cool.
1981 Roller Skater
via: Barbie Media1981 was all about roller skates. Everyone was roller skating everywhere. You see, due to the gas crisis of the 1970s, people actually didn't have cars in the early 1980s. Right? Who knows? All that's certain is this was the Barbie whose very purpose in life would be gone once you inevitably took off her skates and lost them.
1982 India Barbie
via: Barbie MediaHere's another example of Barbie changing her ethnicity seemingly at will. But we're not complaining because this outfit rocks. This is one of the early Barbies from the "Dolls of the World" collection. The collection that seemed to firmly establish that Barbie was not necessarily a single person but rather a concept. We still don't quite get it, but we're into it!
1983 Dream Date Barbie
via: Barbie MediaIn 1983 Barbie started going off the rails. For instance, this is what she's decided to wear for a date. Imagine taking someone to see a movie wearing this. She tied a net into her own hair, and it's amazing Ken didn't call the police. But I guess he's known her awhile and appreciates that she's going through something, so he doesn't judge. He's a good man, that Ken.
1984 Irish Barbie
via: Barbie MediaThis is Irish Barbie from Ireland. You can tell because she's dressed like it's 1896 or so, which is how all people dress in Ireland. It's odd, but as Dolls of the World teaches us — foreigners dress differently than us. But hey, this Barbie looks to have gotten quite a nice ring from Ken. Or, as they call him in Ireland, Tadhg.
1985 Day to Night Barbie
via: Barbie MediaDay to Night Barbie was just barely holding it together. To be clear, this is a woman in a cocktail dress who has added an overcoat and a hat to her ensemble so she can go to work in what is easily the most extreme walk of shame outfit ever. She's not fooling anyone, this is "Night to Day" attire and not the other way around. This is the beginning of the era of "taking all of Barbie's clothes off and seeing if she floats" because we all realized she had nothing left to lose.
1986 Peru Barbie
via: Barbie MediaFrom the mystical Andes emerges the Peruvian Barbie, probably inspired by a painting of Peru someone at Mattel saw once. She's here to teach children that this is how people from Peru dress, which isn't bad, but we suspect there's a bit more to it than that.
1987 German Barbie
via: Barbie MediaThis is German Barbie, who is here to represent German culture in a very specific way from a very specific time period. No, not the one you're thinking of, and not the second one you're thinking of either. This is before all that. Everything is fine. This Barbie is chill.
1988 Fashion Magic Barbie
via: Barbie MediaAfter that whole walk of shame fiasco, Barbie has lost her job and is now living on the beach, begging for change, and really leaning into her role as bathtub floatie toy. Her "fashion magic" appears to be that she's tied her t-shirt up on one side, which was an exciting trend for about 4 years in the late 80s. Once people realized they could tie their shirts up, there was no going back — until everyone realized there was no reason at all to do this.
1989 Russian Barbie
via: Barbie MediaRussian Barbie is here to welcome capitalism! She'd also really like to meet with you about "adoptions." Just don't tell anyone! Haha! But seriously. Don't tell anyone (or else).
1990 Bob Mackie
via: Barbie MediaThe 90's are here, and they are wasting no time at all. 1990 Barbie has been styled by none other than Bob Mackie, known for dressing such icons as RuPaul, Joan Rivers, and Cher. This Barbie doesn't need Ken — this Barbie doesn't need any of us. This Barbie is a queen!
1991 Naval Petty Officer
via: Barbie MediaAmerica is at war and it's time to get serious. Luckily, Naval Petty Officer Barbie is here to help. We're not sure how though, as Petty Officer is a pretty vague term when it comes to the Navy. We trust her, though. Barbie would never lie about suddenly becoming an officer in the Navy, would she?
1992 Totally Hair Barbie
via: Barbie MediaHm, maybe she did. By 1992 Barbie is letting her hair grow long and wild. This is the Barbie who probably suffered a million haircuts at the little hands of budding stylists who didn't understand it couldn't grow back until it was too late. This is also, objectively speaking, the cutest Barbie outfit in history. 1992 wins, even if she is AWOL from the Navy.
1993 Italian Barbie
via: Barbie MediaAgain, the constantly jet-setting Barbie has found that the best way to blend in in a foreign country is to dye your hair and dress the way their peasants would have a hundred years ago. Still, at least she isn't holding a pizza.
1994 Native American Barbie
via: Barbie MediaBarbie has switched ethnicities again, and this time to the extremely vague "Native American". There's no mention of which tribe Barbie belongs to — just a lot of talk about going to a pow-wow (wherever she goes, Barbie finds the party.) This well-intentioned Barbie may have been problematic, but she did come out a year before Pocahontas hit theaters. So, in her way, she was ahead of her time.
1995 Donna Karan
via: Barbie MediaBarbie is continuing to prove herself as a fashion icon by the mid-90's. This Barbie is so fashion-forward, she's even got a shopping bag from having just gone shopping for new fashions. She also looks like she'd bully us, but in a really, really nice way.
1996 Calvin Klein
via: Barbie MediaThis Barbie is over it. She is too cool for fashion. Too cool for any of us. She's probably way too thin and lives in New York. She wears CK One and hangs out with Naomi Campbell on the weekend.
1997 Ralph Lauren
via: Barbie MediaBarbie has switched back over to a preppy look because maybe she thinks it's time to settle down. She's been dating Ken for a while, and maybe she thinks by dressing more seriously, he'll take her more seriously. She could also just be way into Rachel from Friends.
1998 Polish Barbie
via: Barbie MediaPolish Barbie has been doing flower crowns since before we even knew that could be a thing, okay? And she is here to show people that Poland is about a lot more than sausage. It's also about braids.
1999 Generation Girl
via: Barbie MediaBetween Y2K looming, Britney Spears making her debut, and The Matrix blowing everyone's minds, Generation Girl had a lot to deal with. Bangs were also going through a major period of transition, as is evident here. She can't decide if she's a Spice Girl or an action hero, but she is giving denim jackets their last hurrah for awhile.
2000 Jewel Girl
via: Barbie MediaWe survived Y2K, and we all live in the future now. Even Barbie, who is now known as Jewel Girl, because you can put jewels in her hair and on her clothes. Also, her tummy could move.
2000 Presidential Candidate
via: Barbie MediaOh, Barbie. Little did you know that private shoe collection at the Dream House would come back to haunt you. You had a more realistic chance at winning that Olympic ski medal. Keep dreaming, Barbie. Keep dreaming.