The original Barbie doll was based on a German street walker?!?

So I was reading The Real Stella awards weekly e-mail and this week they highlight a case where
MCA records and Matell toys were in a spat over the lyrics to a song
Called “Barbie Girl”, by the Danish group Aqua. It went through the court system and then to appeals, in the appeal it was noted “The original Barbie doll was based on a German street walker”. I have never herd this and I wonder if it is true. Unfortunately I can’t post a site because you have to be on the mailing list to get this issue and the link provided in the news letter pointing to the appeals documents is wrong. I have e-mailed the author asking for a corrected link and when I get it I will post it. BTW if anyone wants I can forward my copy of the story for your scrutiny.

Thanx, Janx

The original Barbie doll was based on a German doll called “Lili”. She was a sort of novelty gift for adult men. I don’t believe she was anatomically correct but she was a tiny adult woman with exaggerated proportions and sexy clothes, a sort of doll otherwise unheard of at the time. Barbie’s creator, Ruth Handler, saw Lili dolls in skiing costumes on display while she was on vacation in Switzerland and was inspired to create an teenaged dress-up doll for American girls.

I believe Lili was based on a character from a comic strip that ran in Das Bild. I suppose that character may have been based on a streetwalking prostitute; I don’t know. But Lili was not directly based on a streetwalking prostitute and Barbie certainly was not.

The original prototype for Barbie was a doll based on a German comic strip character called “Bild Lili”. Yes, she was in the negotiable affections industry. The doll was not intended as a toy for children; instead, it was a novelty item sold to men in tobbacco stores & such.

You can see a picture of her here

From what I understand, she wasn’t actually the inspiration, but the model. Ruth Handler noticed her daughter and her daughter’s friends liked playing with paper dolls of grown up ladies with pretty clothes more than they liked playing with babydolls.

Wow, I’m speechless, you realize that this just validates all the weird fantasies me and G.I. Joe had about my sisters Barbie dolls. :smiley:

Thanx, Janx

Here’s a link to some Bild Lilli Comics.

Rough translation of the text from Bosda’s link (and no, I didn’t use Babelfish, I did it myself!).

Looking at the cartoons, I don’t get the impression that Lilli was a woman of easy virtue, rather a woman who was drawn having got it and therefore flaunting it. Of course I have no idea what sort of a magazine “Bild-Zeitung” is (a quick look at what appears to be their website revealed pictures that shouldn’t be viewed at work), but there just doesn’t seem to be firm ground for believing Bild-Lilli was anything more than eine hübsche Fräulein.