Barbie and the Rockers doll's playset
Since its creation in 1959, the Barbie doll has become an iconic image in popular culture. Its influence on millions of little girls is indisputable and somewhat controversial.
Barbie was an innovation. Whereas traditional dolls were babies, Barbie was a woman. Unlike other dolls, Barbie represented independent single western women and their diverse career opportunities. The international success of the Barbie doll coincided with the rise of feminism. Women's new career options gave Mattel the opportunity to sell more products. Once a girl had a Barbie doll, she could continue to purchase a large range of outfits and accessories. In this way Mattel 'trained' children to keep collecting Barbie products and remain loyal to the brand.
This particular Barbie playset was marketed to go with a set of Barbie and Ken dolls: a pop group - Barbie and the Rockers. The dolls and the playset are a reflection of the era in which they were made and marketed: the mid 1980s. Being in a rock band had become particularly cool and something young people aspired to from quite a young age. The style of playset is typical of the mid 1980s: fluorescent pinks and yellows, and glitter trimmings. Barbie is always an interesting expression of the ever-changing fashions and fads of youth popular culture.