By Sandra Barr
|Bild Lilli "Sex Doll"|
This article was written for Sovereign Independent Ireland, for their April issue. Link
This 11 ½” bit of moulded plastic is Lilli, the German sex bomb, in post war Germany Lilli was sold to men in smoking shops and bars, her large breasts, small waist and long legs coupled with her expression, were apparently sexually gratifying to Germen men.
On Tuesday 19th February the “Lilli” shown here was auctioned at Vectis Auctions Ltd, pre auction she was expected to fetch £1,800 - £2,200, on the day she was sold for £2900!
Lilli was the creation of cartoonist
|Elastolin figures glorifying Mein Fuhrer and the rest of the Nazi war machine|
When Lilli was launched in 1955 German office workers earned approximately DM 50 – DM 75 a week, the 12” Lilli cost DM 12 and the 7 ½” doll DM 7.50, so she was by no means cheap. She was the first doll in history to hold a patent, and in all held 3 patents. She was marketed to adults as a joke or gag gift and was not considered appropriate for children. In “Female Chauvinist Pigs” author Ariel Levy refers to her as a “Sex Doll”. Obviously men could not have sex with Lilli, but just as porn provides stimulation to get the engine running so to speak, so to did Lilli!
She returned to the US and began developing what was later to be called Barbie based on the German Bild Lilli doll. Barbie was three years in the design and development department, which is a little odd considering she was a near identical replica of Lilli.
|Ryan with wife Zsa Zsa gabor|
The man who is credited with designing Barbie and Ken was Jack Ryan, he died in 1991 aged 65, and according to author Jerry Openheimer in his book “Toy Monster: The Big Bad World of Mattel”, he claims that Ryan was a kinky swinger with an insatiable desire for sex. He had “A manic need for sexual gratification”, he surrounded himself with Barbie clones, used the services of high class call girls and street walkers and threw wild orgies at his luxurious Bel-Air mansion according to Openheimer. Ryan’s friend Stephen Gnass told the author that listening to Ryan recanting how he created Barbie, was like listening to someone talk about a “sexual episode”. Ryan was married five times and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was one of his wives.
Openheimer’s book also reveals that the real life Ken, son of Barbara and Elliot handler, was in fact a closet gay. Ken was married and had 3 children; by all accounts he was a wonderful husband and father, in 1990 Ken was diagnosed with AID’s and his secret “Gay life” was exposed, he died from AID’s in 1994.
Officially Ken died of a brain tumour after contracting encephalitis in Africa. In a 1989 interview with People Magazine he said of Barbie:
“Barbie should care about more than going to the beach and having a good time”. “She should care about poverty and suffering in the world”.
According to Openheimer’s expose, as the real Ken grew older, he became increasing self conscious about the wealth and fame which Barbie and Ken had brought to his family. He was also disturbed about the negative impact that Barbie had on little girls, he refused to have the dolls in his home, or let his two daughters and one son play with them.
Ken died in his family’s stately town house in Greenwich, New York age 50.
At Barbie’s 30th birthday party in 1989, the real Barbara, now Barbara Segal had this to say “It seems a joke at this point, much of me is very proud that my folks invented the doll, I just wish I wasn’t attached to it”. Her daughter Cheryl, then 26 said at the gala that she had never had a Barbie!
In 1999 the UK doll market was worth £77 million, and Barbie’s holding share was over 75%! In 1976 the US celebrated its bicentennial year, a time capsule was buried which contained a Barbie as she was voted America’s favourite doll of the century.
|Sindy: Photo credit Sindy Fashion.Com|
Ruth Handler biography: Link
Sindy turns 50: Link
Ken Handler biography: Link
Barbara Handler Segal quote: Link