7 Books to Read If You Enjoyed "Barbie" The Movie

7 Books to Read If You Enjoyed "Barbie" The Movie

Photo by: Elena Mishlanova on Unsplash  


In the summer of 2023, the silver screen witnessed the awe-inspiring journey of Barbie, the iconic fashion doll, in a movie that left audiences enchanted and inspired. Directed by the visionary filmmaker Greta Gerwig, and starring the talented Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as her dear friend Ken, the movie became an instant box office sensation. As of its latest record, the Barbie movie has shattered expectations, grossing over $500 million worldwide, cementing its place as a triumphant addition to the Barbie legacy.

Notably, the film achieved the largest box office opening weekend by a female director, surpassing previous records set by blockbuster hits like "Captain Marvel" and "Wonder Woman." Beyond the cinematic realm, the enigmatic world of Barbie continues to be a subject of fascination.

This article takes you on an exploration through the pages of seven enlightening books, each offering unique insights into the life and impact of Barbie. From revealing legal battles to the pioneering spirit of her creator, these books unveil the multifaceted persona of Barbie that has shaped generations of dreams and aspirations.


1 - You Don't Own Me: How Mattel V. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie's Dark Side by Orly Lobel

Delving into the intense legal showdown between toy giants Mattel and MGA Entertainment over the rights to the Bratz dolls, this book exposes a lesser-known side of Barbie's empire. Through gripping courtroom drama, the dark and competitive aspects of the toy industry come to light, offering a deeper understanding of Barbie's complex journey to becoming a cultural icon.


2 - Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her by Robin Gerber

At the heart of Barbie's success lies the visionary mind of her creator, Ruth Handler. This biography unravels the remarkable tale of Ruth Handler's determination and innovation, bringing Barbie to life and revolutionizing the toy industry. It paints a vivid portrait of Handler's pioneering role as a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated world, forever changing the landscape of playtime for generations to come.



3 - All the Women in My Brain: And Other Concerns by Lisa See

In this collection of thought-provoking essays, Lisa See reflects on her life and experiences, including her childhood fascination with Barbie. The book explores the cultural significance of Barbie as a symbol of beauty, femininity, and the various roles women play in society. Through personal anecdotes and societal observations, See delves into the complexities of female identity, using Barbie as a lens to explore broader themes of womanhood.


4 - Dressing Barbie by Carol Spencer

For more than three decades, Carol Spencer was the creative force behind Barbie's iconic wardrobe. In "Dressing Barbie," she offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the fashion world of the beloved doll. With anecdotes, sketches, and photographs, this book celebrates Barbie's fashion legacy and the creative process behind her ever-evolving style.


5 - The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact on Us by Tanya Lee Stone

Tanya Lee Stone's informative book dissects the cultural significance of Barbie over the years. From her inception in the 1950s to her role in shaping gender norms and body image, this book offers a comprehensive look at the doll's impact on generations of children and society at large. It poses thought-provoking questions about Barbie's influence and her role in shaping our understanding of femininity and beauty.


6 - The Fashion Doll: From Bébé Jumeau to Barbie by Ollie Lucie-Smith

This lavishly illustrated book traces the history of fashion dolls, from their early origins to the modern-day icon, Barbie. It provides a fascinating historical context to understand Barbie's evolution within the larger narrative of fashion and toy industry trends. The book showcases Barbie's status as a cultural icon and explores her impact on the representation of women in the world of play.


7 - The Story of Barbie and the Woman Who Created Her (Barbie) by Kitturah B. Westenhouser

Finally, Kitturah B. Westenhouser's engaging book presents the story of Barbie and her creator, Ruth Handler, in a captivating narrative. It weaves together Barbie's journey from an ambitious vision to becoming an enduring cultural phenomenon. This book offers a heartfelt tribute to the woman whose visionary spirit brought Barbie into existence and the enduring legacy that has inspired millions of dreams and aspirations.


The box office triumph of the 2023 Barbie movie is a testament to the enduring appeal of the iconic doll, transcending generations and cultures. As we explore the pages of these enlightening books, we gain a deeper appreciation for Barbie's cultural impact, her legacy of empowering generations of individuals, and the woman behind the dream, Ruth Handler.

From legal battles that exposed Barbie's darker side to reflections on her influence on female identity and societal norms, these books provide a multifaceted view of the enigmatic world of Barbie, forever etched in the fabric of popular culture. As the doll continues to inspire and evolve, her timeless message of embracing individuality and pursuing one's dreams resonates, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of millions worldwide.


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