Barbie’s Birthday

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Today is Barbie’s 49th birthday! She was introduced to the world on March 9, 1959 at the American Toy Fair in New York City. One of the most influential pop-culture figures in American history, Barbie is a double Pisces, with both her sun and moon in this sign, meaning she was “born” on the new moon. The new moon is a potent time for a new venture and signifies the beginning of a new chapter and indeed the creation of Barbie was a turning point for Mattel and the American toy industry, among other things. According to history.com, Barbie was created by Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, when she noticed that her daughter did not like to play with child-like dolls, but rather to play make-belive with cut outs of grown women. She thus designed a “toy that allowed little girls to imagine the future”.

Imagine is the key word here, a word strongly associated with Pisces. There are myriad types of toys for children; educational toys, puzzles, etc. But a toy that allows a child to imagine their future is a powerful toy. This is a toy that gives girls a chance to imagine themselves in any number of different careers and positions, enjoying freedom and adult life with their own car and house and friends, boyfriend, etc. Playing make-believe with your own life is a deeply human instinct that does not leave us after childhood but continues to guide us as we veer closer or farther away from becoming the people we want to become. And it is the Pisces part of us that loves to imagine the possibilities and fantasize about the future. This is why Barbie has, for nearly five decades, continued to incite the imagination of children and adults alike.

On March 9, 1959 the Sun/Moon conjunction was trine Neptune, the planet that rules Pisces and the fantasy realm, in Scorpio, ensuring that Barbie would not be without her share of controversy. Scorpio rules sexuality, and the debate has raged on for decades about whether or not Barbie presents an unhealthy, unrealistic self-image for girls with her overly voluptous blondie good looks. Others, myself included, have always considered Barbie a revolutionary feminist, the girl who had her cake and ate it too. She was ambitious and determined (Scorpio) could have any job she wanted, and did, and kept her boyfriend, the mild-mannered Ken, waiting in the wings, catering to her needs instead of vice versa. She was a liberated woman, unafraid of her power, independence and sexuality. Many post-modern feminist scholars have adopted this position as well, celebrating Barbie and her lifestyle for encouraging young woman to have a ‘sky is the limit’ mindset about their future. Scorpio is also the sign of transformation, the cycle of death and rebirth, and Barbie has continued to make herself over in order to survive, incarnating time and time again as she, and the world around her, changes.

Many of these qualities can also been seen with her Venus and Mercury in assertive Aries. Aries is a sign ruled by aggressive Mars, and people with several planets in Aries simply don’t like to take no for an answer. They also get bored very easily, hence the constant career jumping! Her Mars in Gemini also underscores this restlessness and makes her multi-talented.. useful if you are a baker, doctor, artist and carpenter all at the same time! It also indicates a level of enthusiasm by the creators to constantly re-make her in different images.

Uranus in Leo trining the Aries planets shows the revolutionary and disruptive nature of the toy, going against the status quo of only making child-like toys for children. Serious Saturn trine powerful Pluto in the chart also indicates some of this controversy, as well as the lasting significance of this doll and her potent nature, as something that could revolutionize not only a girls self-image but the way toys are made and advertised, as it was the first doll to be marketed directly to children. Saturn in its home sign, Capricorn, is also evidence of her strong commitment to being a career woman, and of course, shows a very healthy bottom line for her creators. More than 800 million toys in the Barbie family have been sold since 1958. I bet she is planning something spectacular for the big 5-0!