The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

'Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer' blasted because men do all the coding in the book

Barbie book has been criticised for showing its protagonist needing technical support from men

Heather Saul
Thursday 20 November 2014 14:24
Comments
The storyline follows Barbie as she infects her computer and her sister Skipper’s computer with a virus as she designs a game for school
The storyline follows Barbie as she infects her computer and her sister Skipper’s computer with a virus as she designs a game for school

A book in the Barbie I can be series has been blasted for suggesting its protagonist can be a computer engineer – but only with the help of a man.

The I can be series imagines Barbie in a range of roles, including as President and as a sports star, seemingly breaking gender stereotypes.

But the Barbie: I can be a Computer Engineer book, published by Random House US in 2010, is facing a storm of criticism for portraying Barbie as a programmer who cannot code.

The storyline follows Barbie as she infects her computer and her sister Skipper’s computer with a virus while designing a computer a game for school.

An extract from the book reads: “At breakfast one morning, Barbie is already hard at work on her laptop.

“What are you doing, Barbie?” asks Skipper.

“I’m designing a game that shows kids how computers work,” explains Barbie. “You can make a robot puppy do cute tricks by matching up colored blocks!”

“Your robot puppy is so sweet,” says Skipper. “Can I play your game?”

“I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”

Reviews on Amazon

branded the book “misogynistic nonsense”, “silly” and “disappointing”. 

On reviewer wrote: “If you want to make sure that your daughter gets no silly ideas about ever competing with the boys doing IT this book is for you.”

It now appears to have been taken off the site.

Tumblr site Feminist Hacker Barbie is encouraging users to create “better” versions of the book to “help Barbie be the competent, independent, bad-ass engineer that she wants to be”.

One of the new passages

created by the internet involves Barbie being told she needs to be 18-years-old before pitching to venture capitalists.

In another, Barbie explains to Skipper: “I’ll need too more weeks to figure out how ptrace works before I can add support for the emulation for lx branded zones!”

Mattell, the company who manufacture the fashion doll, has apologised for the book and said it has since "re-worked" others in the series.

A statement said: "The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story doesn’t reflect the Brand’s vision for what Barbie stands for. 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. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girl's imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character.”

Random House has been contacted for comment.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in