Barbie doll among Forbes’ list of ‘most powerful women’

Colleen Kirk, a New York Institute of Technology professor who studies consumer behaviour admits that Barbie plays a crucial role in shaping young girls' minds

Forbes’s list of 100 most powerful women is out and guess who made it to the list of most hardworking women. No, not an alien, but a doll – Barbie.

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The 64-year-old iconic Barbie doll is ranked 100th on the list. It comes as a surprise to many as to how a toy could wield such a large-scale influence on millions around the world, leaving many intrigued by the impact and reach of this cultural icon.

Forbes explained its choice to pick Barbie as this year’s influential most powerful woman in this article. According to it, Barbie became more than just a doll in 2023, thanks to Greta Gerwig’s Warner Bros movie. Barbie exploded as a symbol of woman empowerment.

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“She’s a force to be reckoned with,” says Lisa McKnight, Mattel’s chief brand officer and global head of Barbie. “She galvanized a movement. Barbie is hitting her stride right now.”

The movie was received with open hands. The movie grossed $1.4 billion at the global box office, making Gerwig the first woman to top the $1 billion-plus moneymaker as a solo director.

But it was not just women empowerment. Barbie sales propelled by 16% in the third quarter, boosting an entire industry.

Barbie was created by Ruth Handler in 1959, who wanted to show her little daughter that a woman can achieve more than taking care of babies.

Colleen Kirk, a New York Institute of Technology professor who studies consumer behaviour admits that Barbie plays a crucial role in shaping young girls’ minds. “So all of a sudden, you have… this astronaut… this is who I am… this surgeon is who I am,” Kirk says. “It’s not about the toy, right? It’s the whole idea that Barbie can reflect our aspirations. We can put ourselves into this doll, as women of all ages, and that’s really powerful.”

In addition to her longstanding cultural impact, Barbie dominates the social media platform with over 5 million followers on TikTok and Instagram together, and a substantial 12 million subscribers on YouTube.

Barbie’s influence is undeniable. And that is why she was picked as one of the most powerful ‘women’ this year.

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