When one comes across something sexist, it’s become cliche to exclaim: ‘WHAT YEAR IS THIS, [insert random long-ago year in which things were ostensibly more terrible for women]!?”
That year, apparently, is 2010.
By way of apologizing for the children’s literary masterpiece that is Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer (SPOILER: NOPE, SHE CAN’T!), this apology appeared on the Barbie Facebook page:
The Barbie I Can Be A Computer Engineer book was published in 2010. Since that time we have reworked our Barbie books. 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 apologize 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.
Oh, it was published in 2010. Those WERE dark days for women. BECAUSE THEY ALL FUCKING ARE, AREN’T THEY.
Anyway, if you haven’t heard about this book, allow the hilarious Pamela Ribon to walk you through it in spectacular detail.
Basically, Barbie demurely tells Skipper that she’s “only creating the design ideas” for an educational computer game that sounds absolutely terrible (you make “a cute puppy do tricks by matching up coloured blocks” and that “shows kids how computers work” somehow). Barbie needs BRIAN AND STEVEN’s help to turn it into a real game. (A REAL GAME!)
Barbie, ‘computer engineer,’ also:
- is completely mystified by a ‘weird’ blinking screen. (Barbie is also your aging parent.)
- fucks up Skipper’s laptop with a virus that she didn’t know was on her flash drive (which is pink and heart shaped, natch).
- does not know how to retrive lost files.
- requires Brian and Steven’s help for all of the above. (Fucking Brian and Steven.)
In other words, MEN FIX THINGS THAT STUPID, HELPLESS WOMEN BREAK. It’s a tale for the ages!
The book ends in high-fives and me punching things. (Also, I feel like maybe the authors don’t know what a computer engineer does/is.)
Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer Barbie: I Can Spectacularly Fuck Up Your Computer, Giggle is obviously super problematic. As Ribon writes:
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.
I MEAN WHAT IS THIS 2014!?