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Barbie can't be a computer engineer

(29 Posts)
noblegiraffe Wed 19-Nov-14 22:58:33

So there's a book out called Barbie can be a computer engineer, which sounds great. Except it's not.

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/19/-sp-barbie-can-be-a-computer-engineer-but-only-with-help-of-a-man

Read the title of the article....it's even worse than you are thinking.

kim147 Wed 19-Nov-14 23:02:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Nov-14 23:04:38

"At breakfast one morning, Barbie is already hard at work on her laptop.

“What are you doing, Barbie?” asks Skipper.

“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!”

“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!”"

AuntieStella Wed 19-Nov-14 23:07:14

Ugh.

(Not Ken, but Steven and Brian).

AuntieStella Wed 19-Nov-14 23:07:33

x-post

kim147 Wed 19-Nov-14 23:10:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Wed 19-Nov-14 23:16:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Nov-14 23:16:30

The plot apparently goes that Barbie fucks up Skipper's computer, infects everything with a virus, Brian and Steven save the day and Barbie takes all the credit.

It's totally bizarre. They clearly thought they ought to challenge a gender stereotype, but when it came down to it, didn't actually believe in the premise themselves. I can be a computer engineer! Nah, just kidding.

kim147 Wed 19-Nov-14 23:22:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Wed 19-Nov-14 23:23:54

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kim147 Wed 19-Nov-14 23:27:21

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ShadowKat Wed 19-Nov-14 23:43:52

This is actually a real book endorsed by Mattel? shock

WTF were they thinking? It's so bad I'm half wondering if it could possibly be some sort of industrial sabotage. Rather than breathtaking misogyny.

And of course she's wearing glasses. Someone who thought this book was a good idea probably can't conceive of the notion of someone working in science not wearing glasses.

tribpot Wed 19-Nov-14 23:44:28

Was the book written by those surrendered wife bozos people as a bit of propaganda/reverse psychology? So at the end you're meant to go "I see now. The reason Barbie does sparkly stuff and shopping is because computer engineering is too hard! She isn't denied the opportunity by society but by biology. So that's alright then".

I wonder if in a later book Barbie will realise she can't vote unless a man explains who she should vote for, and so surrenders her democratic rights?

EBearhug Wed 19-Nov-14 23:44:46

Computer engineers are making the most of their annual eye tests, the costs of which they can claim back from work, and also if they need glasses and it can be proved it's because of their work, they can claim back the costs of that, too. It's in the 1994 Display Screen Equipment rules.

Although Barbie isn't based in the UK, so she might not have work coughing up for her sight tests. Mind you, a lot of big IT employers include health care in their packages. She's only at school in this story, though.

Anyway, Barbie doesn't normally wear glasses, but she does as Computer Engineer Barbie. I actually was half approving of Barbie when Computer Engineer Barbie doll was released. Apparently it's her 126th career, and was voted for.

Oh, but this book... I almost felt like punching my hand through my laptop screen (which I replaced myself a couple of weeks ago, after it got damaged, without any help from any men at all.)

Someone's rewritten it here - caseyfiesler.com/2014/11/18/barbie-remixed-i-really-can-be-a-computer-engineer/

EBearhug Thu 20-Nov-14 00:01:07

There's a petition to Mattel to rewrite it - action.sumofus.org/a/sexist-barbie-book/?sub=tw

YonicScrewdriver Thu 20-Nov-14 00:37:47

There are some fricking hilarious takedowns on twitter...

forago Thu 20-Nov-14 00:39:40

This made me angry and depressed in equal measures - this is the kind of attitude I've had to fight against everywhere I've worked.

YonicScrewdriver Thu 20-Nov-14 00:40:58

gizmodo.com/the-internets-best-responses-to-computer-engineer-barbi-1660660376

YonicScrewdriver Thu 20-Nov-14 00:43:21

Are they all called "Barbie can be X"? Seems an odd title construction. "Barbie is a potholer" or "Barbie the potholer" would make more sense.

EBearhug Thu 20-Nov-14 08:29:20

It must be said that, until a couple of days ago, I wasn't really aware that Barbie's life was recorded in books at all. I have now googled, and no, they're not all about Barbie can be X. See for yourself.

EBearhug Thu 20-Nov-14 08:34:34

In fact, even the fact that she was considering being a computer engineer seems a bit of a radical departure from the usual fairies and parties and puppies and princesses and pink glittery excess of the rest of them, so I'm almost ready to say, "well done for at least trying, Mattel." Almost.

I initially typed "punk glittery excess" - now, there's a Barbie I want to see...

kim147 Thu 20-Nov-14 08:58:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BarbarianMum Thu 20-Nov-14 09:52:06

Despite having alway loathed Barbie and everything she stood for this makes me rage on her behalf.

I think the fact they were trying to do something good makes it worse. Actually, I find it hard to believe.

YonicScrewdriver Thu 20-Nov-14 13:07:55

Why didn't they just call it "games designer" or whatever instead?

EBearhug Thu 20-Nov-14 13:34:58

It doesn't really matter what they called it - Unless they changed the content, it would still be showing Barbie as some airhead who is totally incompetent with computers and has no awareness of basic computer security like the need for anti-virus or whatever, and only boys can do the actual techy stuff.

If they'd done it where she's the designer and working with others to talk through how it's implemented and didn't go round swapping flash drives between devices without a single check at any point, then okay. Teamwork - fine, collaboration which indicates some technical understanding - fine. Just giving over all the "difficult" stuff to the boys, not fine.

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