Mattel recently released a dual Barbie book titled: I Can Be an Actress/I Can Be a Computer Engineer. Cool! There’s a national focus on Girls and STEM, so this can only be good, right? WRONG! One blogger sums it up this way:
“Despite having ruined her own laptop, her sister’s laptop, and the library’s computers, not to mention Steven and Brian’s afternoon, she takes full credit for her game design— only to get extra credit and decide she’s an awesome computer engineer! “I did it all by myself!“
The problem is that Barbie didn’t actually do any of the work. Another blogger sums it up with an article titled, “Computer Engineer Barbie Needs Men To Write Code, Can’t Reboot Computer“.
My first job out of college was a Software Engineer. I was the only African-American female of about 300 employees (there were probably 10 black people total and maybe 20 women). Reading a book that has Barbie relying on her male counterparts to implement her ideas and then taking credit for it is pretty offensive. Is she not smart enough? Does she not know how to do these types of things? What message are you sending to little girls? Kinda goes counter to the #Girls and #STEM movement!
So what does the Internet do when companies get it wrong? Kathleen Tuite put together a website called Feminist Hacker Barbie, which allows the public to rewrite the book. You basically take a scene from the book and re-write it with a more acceptable story-line! (And post it to social media of course).
Compare the original version to mine.
Barbie can't even code, and the book is called "Barbie is a computer engineer" pic.twitter.com/CholDn2oVE