What appeared to be a promising children’s book, designed especially for girls age 3 to 7, turned out quite the opposite.
Barbie as a Computer Engineer is part of a book series that depicts the perfect blonde doll, Barbie, while trying different jobs. The book starts with Barbie trying to design a game to show kids how computer and computer programming, work. Even though the beginning shows promise, the second page reveals the true meaning of the book. Instead of trying to the design the game by herself, Barbie calls two of her guy friends to come do it for her.
The sexist theme behind these not-so-hidden symbols has let a lot of people down. Instead of using Barbie as a symbol to encourage girls to choose whatever they want in terms of jobs and promote the idea that there is no such thing as a job field dominated by men, the author proves, once again, that sexism is still part of our everyday life.
However, the adventures of Barbie in the computer world do not stop there. Throughout the book, several other sexist themes appear. As Barbie tries to figure more stuff about computer engineering, the two boys that helped her at the beginning continue to show up along the story, doing and fixing all the important things.
Although the book was published in 2010, the social media exploded only now due to Pamela Ribon, the author behind the bestseller called “Why Girls Are Weird”. The novelist stumbled upon the book while being at a friend’s house and actually considered the book useful until she opened it.
“We knew we had to share this with you, because if we didn’t, we’d be saying it was okay. We couldn’t just roll our eyes at how insulting this book is, how dangerous it is for young minds, how it’s a perfect example of the way women and girls are perceived to “understand” the tech world, and how frustrating it can be when nobody believes this is how we’re treated,”
posted Ribon, causing Twitter and Facebook users to acknowledge the book and express their outrage towards it.
In order to set things right, a website has been released that allows any user to try and rewrite a page of the book, making it less sexist and more educational.