Have you seen the outrage around the latest book detailing the story of Barbie and her computer science studies? The two book series I Can Be an Actress and I Can Be a Computer Engineer follows Barbie, her sister Skipper and friends as they explore career options.
The computer engineer book was well intentioned. I’m sure the creators saw this as an opportunity to “allow” Barbie to venture in the male dominated world of computers and let young girls see the options available to them. However, when Barbie infects her computer and that of her sister’s with a virus, they have to call on fellow male students, Steven and Brian to fix the problem.
There is a good side to the story. Two young women have decided to change the tone of the story and created a remix website that changes the story line and perspective of Barbie and her computer science studies.
From the Mashable article The Sexist Barbie Book About Computer Science we learn the details:
Roommates Casey Fiesler and Miranda Parker remixed the book, replacing its sexist and truly pathetic prose into a book that actually works as a way to inform young girls about STEM and empower them to be real engineers.
The best part of the book? It doesn’t take the angle that women in tech can’t be technical and girly. It celebrates being both.
The best part – now you can modify the pages of the original Barbie book as well. Check out this rewrite:
Visit the Feminist Hacker Barbie website and make your own improvements to one of the pages in the book or just have fun reading over what others have written.
The intentions were good. It is time we took the classic toys that young girls enjoy and infuse leadership skills and an interest in S.T.E.M. careers. This was just a horrible miss by the makers of Barbie – on every level.