As dolls go, Barbie has had her ups and downs. She's achieved
iconic status, amid multiple alterations to her figure, face and
wardrobe. She's survived a very public breakup with Ken and
withstood fierce competition from other dolls who've snagged
some of her market share.
Sales also have slumped in recent years, as they did at the beginning of
the women's movement in early 1970s _ when"girls weren't supposed to just
go to the prom and marry Ken," says Chris Byrne, an independent toy
Yet somehow, as she always does, Barbie has managed to bounce back _ and
not just because she's made of rubbery plastic.
Mattel Inc., which makes Barbie, says sales so far this year have been up
for the first time in several years. And one survey of parents done by the
National Retail Federation found that Barbie is the top toy for girls this
holiday season (TMX Elmo was first for boys).