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Computer Engineer Barbie

Recently, there have been several articles about the release (Fall 2010) of “Computer Engineer Barbie”, and interviews with prominent female engineers, including this one with Erin Fitzgerald from the Department of Defense. Most guys don’t know too much about Barbie dolls, so if you are like me, you may not have realized that this is the 125th profession for Barbie. Given all the press, I thought this might be an especially enlightened profession for Mattel to have assigned, or that they were showing extra feminist sensitivity. I was very surprised and pleased to see that this is not the case. Mattel has had an enlightened view of Barbie’s professional life from the very beginning!

A review of Barbie’s list of careers shows that Barbie has been an Astronaut (1965), a Surgeon(1973), and several other kinds of prestigious and well-compensated professionals – Doctor(s), Dentist, Business Executive, Olympic Athlete, twice a Presidential Candidate, and much more. Considering that Mattel gets a lot of flak for making a doll that could be (physically at least) a negative stereotype, from a career standpoint, they’ve set a good example in providing solid roles. Of course, Computer Barbie’s laptop is pink, but that’s ok.

The reason this 125th release got so much attention is that Mattel very smartly engaged their adult and young female customer base in a worldwide online vote to select the latest professions. They are also releasing a list of “10 Women to Watch in 2010“, all people of significant accomplishment, including a 13 year old fashion blogger!

My wife and my daughter were very into Barbie as youngsters, but I never realized Mattel had actually done such a good job with Barbie’s professional identity, so I thought some of my readers might also enjoying knowing about it!