Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Barbie 'Computer Engineer' Book Infuriates Parents

So much for empowerment.  Mattel icon Barbie, long known for her independence and career versatility, turns out to be hopeless at computer engineering -- a lucrative career field that still has far too many women in it.  Based on the content of I Can Be A Computer Engineer, Barbie's not going to be one of them.

That's because, in Taylor Lorenz's review of the book, "She is portrayed as an inept programmer who inadvertently plagues her friend’s computer with a virus and can’t fix a bug without help from a man."

Lorenz says parental criticism has harmed sales, but my check of Amazon says the paperback edition of the book, paired with I Can Be An Actress, is temporarily out of stock.  So someone's buying it -- lots of someones, unfortunately.  Or perhaps Amazon has quietly stuck it in a dark corner, where it belongs.

As dispiriting as the insipid content is the fact that the book was written by a woman, Susan Marenco, who has co-authored two other Barbie achiever books, Pastry Chef and Lifeguard.

If girls don't like the book, they can console themselves with a Barbie Computer Programmer doll, who -- of course -- has a pink laptop.

UPDATE NOV. 20:  Mattel has apologized for the content of this book:

and you can suggest improvements to it here: