I hail Barbie as the foremother of bad bitches, but I’ll admit Mattel often missuses her ability to be a constructive inspiration to girls. Parents often attribute her negative influence to her unrealistic body proportions and plastic personality. A recent re-vamp of the blatantly sexist book “Barbie: I can be a Computer Engineer” proves the Malibu princess can be a fashionable representation of feminist prowess. Mattel just needs more designers, who know how to use their Barbie powers for good.
In the original book, Barbie and her younger sister Skipper encounter a series of computer flops as they wait for the male characters to come to their rescue. The sexism doesn’t hit you straight out the gate. The story starts with Barbie creating the designs for a laser-eyed puppies video game for a class project. Barbie says she can only make the design and needs Brian and Stephen to do the coding. Oh, no! She did not just say that?!
Georgia Tech doctoral computing student Casey Fiesler recognized Barbie is not a basic bitch. Fiesler went and wrote the entire book, putting Barbie in charge of coding and helping the guys with their coding problems versus the other way around.
The remix encourages girls to ignore sexism and be boldly stylish as geniuses in the STEM fields…unlike some dolls who will go unnamed. It is this type of creativity that could be use to transform Barbie’s image and making her a useful tool in shaping capable and well-rounded young women.
Sidenote: We haven’t had Comic Tuesday in a minute. You have to understand– this college life struggle is real! During the midterm exam madness, my good friend Michelle Iracheta brought this gem about Computer Engineering Barbie to my attention. If you have time, you should check her out at tech blog Tronnic. I promise to get back on my Comic Tuesday game!