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My analysis of Computer Engineer Barbie

Mattel is releasing “I Can Be Computer Engineer Barbie” this December. Thus adding a very Twenty-first Century occupation to her resume along with Astronaut and Airline Stewardess.

(For a close-up of the doll, go here, click on the image on the left, and then click the + magnifying glass.

Let's work our way up and see if this Barbie would actually fit in in a computer science environment.

Briefcase. Titanium. Bond. Jane Bond. Win.

Shoes: She's wearing flats, not heels. Is this a first? These look like those Barefoot Technology shoes that are supposed to be better for us than regular tennis shoes. Win.

Sparkly black leggings. Left over from, what, Cirque du Soleil Barbie?. Fail.

Shirt. Image of an iMac with wireless keyboard (mini-win), but not wireless mouse (mini-fail) and keys spelling out "Barbie" on a field of 1's and 0's. Not bad. I don't know code, but if those spell out “Barbie” in binary, then Epic Win. (I could see Leonard getting something like that for Penny.)

Cropped jacket. Very hip right now. I like the circuit board design on the arms. If those glowed in the dark, she could go straight from the lab to the dance floor. Win.

Bluetooth headset. Personally, I don't like them. They make everyone look like Lt. Uhura. But, a legit accessory. Push.

Glasses. These are clearly meant for Barbie for whip off, shake down her ponytail, and have Ken declare, “Good heavens Miss Doctor Roberts, you're beautiful!” But those rectangular lenses are the recommended shape for her oval face. Win.

Watch. Pink band. Still, could be an Timex IronMan. Barbie in training for a marathon? Win

Laptop. Okay, but WHAT IS SHE DOING WITH IT? The monitor appears to be displaying some sort of fashion thing or playing Rock Band. Fun stuff like that is for her iPhone (see below), not her—presumably work-related—laptop. Whatever it is, she's not, like Alex Doonesbury, studying protein structures. Epic Fail.

iPhone. Fashion thing. Probably a left-over image from something else. That's just plain lazy. C'mon! Fail. But this (and the above) could be redeemed. What the world needs is a website called something like CSBarbieDecals.com. People would design and upload all sorts of tiny images that kids could download and print onto sticker paper. Then they just apply them over the old images. A smudge of blue with tiny boxes is Facebook. Red with boxes is Netflix. A couple of DNA spirals, and you're Alex D.

So, could she walk the halls of Caltech or M.I.T. and pass as the real thing? Possibly. Does the image she presents cancel out the “Math class is tough” Teen-talk Barbie of the 1990's. Yes. Will the image she presents nudge girls into the sciences? Possibly. But, like so many things, toy choices are largely self-selective. The cool girl geeks who would want this probably already have Linux penguins on their lunch boxes.



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