ByHeather Snowden, writer at
Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona. Email: [email protected] Tweet: @heathbetweetin
Heather Snowden

Back in 2001, Reese Witherspoon bent and snapped her way into our hearts as Legally Blonde's pink-patent bombshell, Elle Woods. She secured her spot at Harvard Law School, whipped her ex's ass at life, passed her exams with flying colors and still made time for a manicure. She was the kind of Barbie I could get on board with.

Now, Reese is returning to the big screen to champion the Elle Woods-esque life approach one more time, although rather than playing Barbie, this time she's inventing her.

According to The Tracking Board, Reese is currently working with production company Pacific Standard to bring us an origin story based on the life of the doll's creator, Ruth Handler. There's also a strong possibility she'll star in the movie too, given her aforementioned credentials.

The film will be an adaptation of Robin Gerber’s book 'Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her', a focus on the life of the business woman who developed a toy for her husband's company, Mattel, and invented an icon in the process.

Although Barbie is often criticized for promoting an unhealthy interpretation of women's bodies and creating an unachievable standard, Handler actually created Barbie as an aspirational figurehead for independent woman. Once saying,

“Barbie has always represented that a woman has choices. Even in her early years, Barbie did not have to settle for only being Ken’s girlfriend or an inveterate shopper. She had the clothes, for example, to launch a career as a nurse, a stewardess, a nightclub singer. I believe the choices Barbie represents helped the doll catch on initially, not just with daughters - who would one day make up the first major wave of women in management and professionals – but also with mothers.”

And on that unexpected note, here are some other facts behind the creation of Barbie you may not know...

1. 'Barbie' is actually named after the Handlers' daughter, Barbara.

2. Her design is based off the German Bild Lilli doll, a toy which was sold as an adult novelty in bars and tobacco shops.

3. Barbie's body shape is actually intended to be a realistic interpretation of what a young girl "would be like when she was 16 or 17.''

4. Her male counterpart and fictional boyfriend, Ken, is named after the Handler's son, Ken.

Meaning Barbie's boyfriend is actually her brother? Erm...

5. Surviving breast cancer, Handler went on to create the "Nearly Me" line, which still produces and distributes breast replacements and mastectomy swimwear today.

Source: Variety, AV Club, NY Times, Good Housekeeping


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