Barbie: I can be a Computer Engineer

Barbie Tries Computer Engineering and Screws It Up for the Rest of Us

*Update: Two roommates, Casey Fiesler and Miranda Parker have made some changes to this disaster of a book.

Barbie, I remember when you were a Doctor, an Ambassador for world peace, a police officer and even President of the United States. Now, you’re taking on the male-dominated field of computer science in Barbie’s newest book I Can Be a Computer Engineer. Unfortunately, it’s not the encouraging, “girls can do anything” kind of book I’m sure Mattel was going for. Instead it’s filled with the usual sexist message most women in the field experience everyday.

Let’s get into some examples, shall we?

“I’m designing a game that shows kids how computers work,” explains Barbie. “You can make a robot puppy do cute tricks by matching up colored blocks!”

Educational? Check. Fun? Check. Cute? Check. So far so good. This would be perfect for growing kids and this would encourage girls to learn some coding.

“Your robot puppy is so sweet, says Skipper. Can I play your game?”

“I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”

Duh Skipper! You need men to make a “real game” of course. Silly girl.

Screw you Barbie, screw you.

It gets worse:

barbie gets a virus on her computerBarbie puts a virus on Skipper's computer

Silly, Barbie, you put a virus on your computer and Skipper’s computer?! How are you going to get out of this one?

Barbie tells Steven and Brian about the viruses

Steven tells Barbie fixing it will go faster if the two guys do it. Barbie agrees

The two dudes solve the silly girl’s computer issue, and they did it faster than Barbie ever would have, of course!

Oh Barbie, you did it again: reinforced sexist and misogynistic stereotypes. This is sad. Who thought this was a good idea, ever? It’s like no one read even read it before they mass produced it and shipped it out to all these poor girls.

If you would like see more of this horrible book, Pamela Ribbon did everyone a favor and read this wonderful book (so we wouldn’t have too) and blogged about how much of a fail it is.

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