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Green Mama’s Rant: Computer Engineer Barbie

Posted Feb 18 2010 12:00am
Photo by MattelComputer Engineer Barbie

Computer Engineer Barbie

It always amazes me when PR people don’t do their homework.  Anyone who does a quick search of Eco Child’s Play would find it quite apparent that I am not in favor of encouraging children to use tech gadgets, have busted Barbie for greenwashing, and detest her boobs.  That’s why I was surprised to be sent announcement about the latest Barbie:  Computer Engineer Barbie.

Computer Engineer Barbie is part of the career series.  Past careers have included astronaut, news anchor, army medic, chef, ballerina, firefighter, flight attendant, aerobics instructor, business executive, etc.  Although many of these roles go beyond typical gender stereotypes, many do not, and in most cases it is a lame attempt at best.  Consider Computer Engineer Barbie with her pink laptop and sparkly skin tight pants…

To ensure the doll accurately reflects this occupation, Barbie® designers worked with the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering to ensure that accessories, clothing and packaging were realistic and representative of a real computer engineer. Looking geek chic, Computer Engineer Barbie® wears a t-shirt featuring binary code and computer/keyboard icon along with a pair of black knit skinny pants. Computer Engineer carries a Barbie® smart phone, fashionable laptop case, flat watch and Bluetooth earpiece. With stylish pink-frame glasses and a shiny laptop, she is ready to conquer the day’s tasks on the go or from her desk.

I have to admit I have not met a lot of computer engineers in my day, but the few I have known were never dressed like this.  And please, what girl is going to be inspired to become a computer engineer because Barbie made her think it was “cool” when she was young. Randy Atkins of the National Academy of Engineering writes:

Barbie is another wonderful way of introducing girls to engineering, a profession that includes computer engineers and many others all working together on the world’s most important challenges. The National Academy of Engineering shares their passion for portraying engineering as a “cool” and creative career path, because that realization both opens doors for girls individually and is vital to tapping a rich diversity of ideas that will lead us all into the future.

Come on Barbie, let’s just come out with the hairy leg/armpit crunchy girl wearing organic clothes and made out of hemp whose career is tree sitting…that’s a doll that might win my endorsement.

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