Barbie has had many different careers. She's been a model, singer, and a cookie chef to name a few. In the past few years, though, there's been a welcome push for the doll to help break through stereotypical gender confines in specific fields. We thought the public's wish had been granted when Mattel released the "I Can Be a Computer Engineer Barbie Doll" and accompanying book. But oh, how incredibly wrong did things go for Mattel.
Video game developer Brianna Wu offered a hilarious takedown of the book's many flaws on Twitter last night, and then compiled her tweets on Storify. See, as the story goes, Computer Engineer Barbie sets off to create a computer game. The only problem is that Computer Engineer Barbie is actually more of Designer/UX Manager Barbie, meaning she can only handle the design of the game. She'll need the help of two men named Steven and Brian to "turn it into a real game."
Unfortunately, the game hits a snag in development when Barbie tries to email the wireframes to Steven. Her screen starts blinking, and her little sister Skipper lets her know she has a virus. No bother! Barbie has a flash drive necklace with a backed-up copy of her designs. She puts it into Skipper's laptop and whomp, gives her computer the same virus.
"The virus must be on the flash drive!" Computer Engineer Barbie concludes. "I forgot to back up my homework assignment! And all my music files are lost, too!" Skipper cries.
Barbie is too busy to stick around and help her sister with her homework that Barbie was responsible for losing. Skipper seems pretty okay with it, though.
Barbie heads into computer class and asks her teacher how to retrieve lost files if your computer gets a virus and crashes. The teacher tries to explain, but Barbie doesn't seem to understand. Luckily, she meets up with Brian and Steven in the library after class, and they fix her flash drive and computer. They also rescue Skipper's lost files. It's such a relief to have Brian and Steven — two people who understand computers — around. This book isn't supposed to be about a computer engineer named Barbie or anything.
Barbie presents Skipper with her recovered files, and Skipper thanks her sister for fixing her computer. At no point does Barbie admit that it was really Brian and Steven who saved the day.
Barbie presents the game she designed to the class. She does not thank Steven and Brian, but the book does point out that her "terrific computer skills have saved the day for both sisters!"
With books like this, we can definitely expect the gender gap in STEM fields to be closed in no time. And, did we mention it comes packaged with Barbie: I Can be an Actress? It's truly a book pairing for the ages. (Storify/Spacekatgal)
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