Controversial computer engineer Barbie book crashes after sexism row


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The Independent Culture

A controversial Barbie book in which the blonde character finds herself baffled by technology has been withdrawn from sale after toy manufacturer Mattel was forced to apologise for portraying the doll as totally reliant on men.

Barbie I Can Be A Computer Engineer, first published in 2010, came under fire after Barbie had to call in men to help repair her laptop after it crashes.

The controversy was sparked earlier this week after best-selling American author Pamela Ribon attacked the book on her blog, quoting a scene from the book where Barbie, who has a USB stick on her pink necklace, says she’ll need help from programmers called “Steven and Brian” to turn design ideas into a “real game”.

In a statement on its Facebook page, Mattel said: “We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologise that this book didn’t reflect that belief.”

The book’s author, Susan Marenco, who has written more than 60 books for Disney, said: “ Maybe I should have made one of those programmers a female – I wish I had.”