Mattel, the company behind Barbie, is (at last) succeeding in shaking the doll of her anti-feminist ideals. Her doll life was always shrouded in negativity; her highly unrealistic body shape the subject of constant criticism over the negative message it sent to young girls. Yes, Barbie has been widely criticised for decades for representing a female stereotype; her love of pink dresses and shopping was frequently called out with dismay. The company tried to rectify this, featuring a young boy in their ad campaigns and finally gave the iconic blonde an image makeover – she now has four body types: the original, plus tall, curvy, and petite – to better represent and reflect real girls in modern times.
Still the argument remained that the doll was all about looks. But it seems that this time, the toy makers behind the world’s most famous fashion doll may have finally gotten it right. Meet Barbie: Career Games Developer. She’s a woman who wears jeans, an olive green jacket and a T-shirt, with very cool red streaks in her hair and comes armed with a laptop featuring real game code graphics.
According to The Huffington Post, Molly Proffitt, CEO of Ker-Chunk Games, LLC., worked with Mattel to ensure the doll was believably techie (hence the real game code) as well as inspiring for young girls and future gamers, who finally can play with a doll who shares their interests.
It makes a significant change to Mattel’s 2014 offering: a book featuring Computer Engineer Barbie who becomes flustered when her pink computer breaks down (naturally, it couldn’t be fixed without help from the boys).
The implications of this new Barbie are pretty major: The tech world is notoriously male-centric (men still make up the majority in the science and tech fields), and along comes Game Developer Barbie reiterating to all her fans that yes, women can do anything the boys can do. We love the whole concept and the empowering message it embodies.
More of this please, Mattel.