November 20, 2014
The Daily Dot’s writer, Aja Romano, takes the latest Barbie book to task for sending girls another wrong message. As an installment of the “Barbie: I can be…” series, the book styles her as a computer programmer. The problem is that all Barbie can manage is creating a simple game idea and drawing a picture of a robot puppy. She needs two boys to do the programming, and before they step in to rescue her, Barbie manages to inadvertently destroy all of her sister’s music and homework, which of course provokes a pillow fight.
We aren’t making this up. It really is that bad.
As Romano says, “…maybe Mattel should just quit fronting and abandon the pretense that Barbie—whose body proportions are so unrealistic that a woman reportedly removed two of her ribs just to try to match them—has anything empowering to offer young girls. Mattel has already featured Barbie on a Sports Illustrated cover. After that, no amount of career ambition can mask where her true cultural value lies. Sadly, it’s not in her programming skills.”
Aja Romano’s original article can be found here, but don’t miss the Barbie computer programmer remix put together by Casey Fiesler and Miranda Parker, university students who used their expertise to turn the Barbie book into a fantastic and empowering response to the terrible original.