This week marks Barbie’s 60th birthday. In the District, there is no better way to either celebrate or poke fun at the iconic doll brand than a visit to the Barbie Pond on Q St. NW.
The Barbie Pond is a D.C. landmark, filling a small front yard with joy for all passersby. The Barbies (and Kens) change activities frequently, with scenes carefully laid out over the pond and rocks. Currently, they are a bit worse for wear after celebrating Mardi Gras.
Right before Mardi Gras, they were walking down the red carpet at the Oscars.
They make really quick transitions – one moment they are Oscar statuettes, and the next moment they are Mardi Gras celebrants.
In the past couple of months, they have celebrated Valentine’s Day, New Year’s, and Christmas (taking their holiday cues from Melania’s White House red Christmas trees).
Sometimes the Barbies go political, like their Russian collusion theme in the summer of 2017:
Most of the time, the Barbies are just out to have a good time. Their favorite holiday is Pride Month.
The Barbies are even famous enough to have their own entry on Google maps:
You can see more of the Barbie’s pond adventures on their Instagram feed @barbie_pond_ave_q
- Belly Button Free: Although Barbie was born in 1959, she didn’t develop a belly button until 2000.
- Barbie’s German Cousin: The original Barbie design was based on the German doll Lilli, a call girl sold in adult stores and tobacco shops.
- Barbie, Meet Barbie: The creator of Barbie, Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler, named the doll after her daughter. The Handlers also had a son named Ken, which raises lots of uncomfortable questions.
- Barbie’s Lost Sister: Everyone knows about Skipper, Barbie’s little sister who was introduced in 1964. However, you may not know about Barbie’s other sister, Tutti, who disappeared in 1971 and was never heard from again (except on eBay).
- Unrealistic Expectations: If the original Barbie doll were increased to human-sized proportions, her measurements would have been 38-18-28. In 2016, Mattel introduced three new body types, including a “curvy” Barbie that was supposed to have more realistic proportions. But, even Curvy Barbie, when scaled up to human size, would still only be a size 4 (the original would have been a 5’9″ size 2).
- Diet Tips: To keep her girlish figure, 1965’s Slumber Party Barbie shared diet tips like “Don’t eat.” Needless to say, Barbie has faced numerous body-image controversies.
- A More Diverse Barbie: When Barbie debuted in 1959, the U.S. population was 89% white. But, with the country expected to become majority non-white by the middle of the century, Barbie dolls have slowly become more racially diverse. Flagging sales and competition from other brands, like the multi-ethnic Bratz dolls, also played a part in Barbie’s evolution.