Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer.... Except I can't


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edited in General
As part of an effort to keep conversations about gender in game design environments alive on our forums - because even I need to be reminded not to fall into stereotype traps and create male only games - I'm sharing this horrifying piece of "literature" here:

http://www.dailydot.com/geek/barbie-engineer-book-girls-game-developers/
Basically what happens is she designs a game (but can't code it without her guy friends' help), infects her own and her sister's computers with a virus by accident (lolol), has her guy friends help her fix both of them, and then takes all the credit for the game and fixed computers in the end.

Comments


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    edited
    In my world, I'm Barbie half the time XD

    The worst thing about these is how nonchalant they are with it, covert and just *there*. Calling them out and hopefully making parents aware of it will hopefully help.

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    edited
    [Moderator] Off-topic comments have been removed.

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    I'd like to say I can't believe that something like this was published, but alas I can. It almost seems better to be blatantly discouraging, as opposed to being encouraging in a patronizing, snide and undermining fashion.

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    To paraphrase Matt Lees, this book can fuck off into space. I can see how a stupid, misguided message might come about if a single person had been responsible for the book in its entirety, but this project would have been seen by numerous people at Mattel before being published; at some point, somebody must have raised an eyebrow. Or maybe I'm just being optimistic and nobody at the company that manufactures the single most popular toy for girls actually gives a damn about the girls they're making products for.

    That said, the article made a couple of points that bugged me a little:

    -The author seems to take issue with Barbie being depicted as developing 'girly' games that 'real gamers' wouldn't make. This one's kinda tricky, because a lot of 'girly' games are poorly made and are quite patronising in their attempts to appeal to girls and women. There just seems to be an unnecessary vilification of femininity here.

    -The article appears to value design less than programming, despite making use of a quote from the Pamela Ribon piece that criticises the two men in Barbie's team for the same thing. The book definitely could have handled the design/programming relationship better, but I feel like the article itself is kind of dismissive of an important part of game dev, and by extension, the important work that Barbie is doing.

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    Hey, look, this is Mattel, who actually put Barbie on the cover of Sports Illustrated: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/14/living/barbie-sports-illustrated-swimsuit-edition-parents/

    Make of that what you will.

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    Here's a rewrite of the book to try and address the problems: http://www.dailydot.com/geek/sexist-barbie-book-stem-remix-engineer-gaming

    I like the whole "I posted a screenshot of the game and people are assuming I only did the design instead of coding anything" angle, that's smart.

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    @dislekcia That's amazing! I love this line:
    “Don’t be a moron, Ken,”says Barbie. “You spend more time on your hair than I do.”
    xD

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    Amazon reviews for the doll, mostly positive: http://www.amazon.com/Barbie-Can-Computer-Engineer-Doll/dp/B0042ESG9W
    Amazon reviews for the book, notsomuch: http://www.amazon.com/Actress-Computer-Engineer-Barbie-Pictureback/

    Yet, among these reviews is this: "This must be a set up. All you feminists in uproar over Barbie asking for her male friends' help in this book don't even fit the profile for buying a Barbie book. It's called free speech! Don't buy the book! Not every woman is just as competent as some men in certain areas and vice versa. Lighten up!" - from supposedly a female poster.

    As for the book - this could very well all be quite a deliberate move from Mattel to make sure girls are properly brainwashed to never gain an interest in things other than their prescribed "girl" toys.
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