Barbie from 70s and 80s
When did Barbie laugh?
In 1971 Barbie looked her audience for the first time in the eye. This was Mattel's response according to the feminist movement of the time. This is Barbie Malibu from 1971. She is tanned, she is smiling with a natural make-up.
Malibu Barbie, 1971 (repro doll - image from the doll box cover)
Around the mid-70s Ruth Handler was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she will be a proud survivor. She herself underwent a mastectomy.
(Cit. from an online Guardian's article by Veronica Horwell) After Ruth's mastectomy, her doctor told her to stuff her empty bra cup with rolled-up stockings, and when she asked a saleswoman in a Beverly Hills department store for an artificial breast, she was handed a surgical bra and a couple of gloves: she was supposed to stuff the bra with the gloves. Both approaches lacked a certain veracity. The available prosthetic breasts, when located, were a "shapeless glob that lay in the bottom of my brassiere. The people in this business are men who don't have to wear these.".
In 1975, she left the management of Mattel and decided to found a company called Ruthton Corporation with a new product: The Nearly Me breast prosthetic, was liquid silicone in polyurethane with a foam backing. It was created to help women who have undergone surgery (mastectomy) to continue their lives with positivity and faith that nothing is lost from their femininity.
At the end of the 70's, new face molds make their appearance, changing once again the characteristics of Barbie. The SuperStar face mold, the 80's classic, just like the Steffie face mold.
Steffie appeared in 1972 as Barbie's friend, and while she was discontinued in 1973, her mold continued to be used in various Barbie dolls.
In 1979 it was used for P.J. Sunsational Malibu while in 1980 for the very important, from a historical and collectable point of view, Barbie doll with dark chocolate skin: the First Black Barbie, Christie (unfortunately I have not been able to add it to my collection).
It is very interesting the Mattel's choice to recycle older bodies (called by collectors Straight Leg, Standard, as opposed to Twist 'n Turn) with newer heads. This is the case of the 1972 Barbie Standard (with Steffie face mold).