Or so Teen Talk Barbie uttered in 1992. Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Talk about self-fulling prophecy.  Fast-forward twenty-two years and it seems that Barbie is still struggling with algorithms but don’t worry (the very male) Steven and Brian will help her out.

Where would the twenty-four hour news cycle be without the fauxrage of social media?  For without it, ‘Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer’ may have still languished and the wider world ignorant of such gems as “I’m only creating the design ideas. I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”

Empowerment?  I think not.  Mattel’s fault? Perhaps, not?

Two words:  Unconscious bias. This book reflects no more than the greater trust society places in a man’s technical ability. From the playground where girls rate their mathematical ability lower than their male counterparts to the workforce where female graduates tend to be placed more often  in client facing roles whereas male graduates are more likely to be given the opportunity to develop their technical and analytic skills.  Come crunch time, the female cannot compete as the hard skills have not been developed.

So back to Barbie and her moribund IT career.  This book did not just appear.  It is a product of a cynical marketing department.  It would have been test marketed.  Approved by corporate.  Signed off by someone at Random House. Not one person questioned Barbie’s technical skills (or lack thereof)  before a viral rant? In other words, we are back in 1992 where a corporate culture not only does not put faith in a female’s technical ability but does not believe that it exists in the first place.  That should be the story, not a narrative about a doll that can’t code.

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