Barbie Isn’t Just Hair & Clothes – She’s Teaching Young Girls to Code!

“Be who you wanna be, B-A-R-B-I-E, Barbie girl.” – the iconic quote that has been admired by young girls for ages. Over the years, we have seen Barbie take on over 150 careers and has been breaking glass ceilings since she first went to the moon in the 1960s. Mattel has helped young girls imagine their lives as doctors, teachers, pro athletes and even President of the United States. Now, Barbie is pioneering her way through the tech industry. In 2010, the “I Can Be Anything” campaign (currently their “You Can Be Anything” campaign is running) launched premiering a Computer Engineer Barbie and marking Barbie’s first steps into the technology field. Computer Engineer Barbie was lightly ridiculed for her matching pink laptop accessories and office space surrounded with pictures of Ken, but the fact that there even WAS a computer engineer Barbie is pretty amazing. Fast forward to 2016, and Barbie keeps moving in the direction of progress. Game Developer Barbie aired and Mattel NAILED it. This version gives young techies the chance to play out the creative fun in a pretty accurate manner. Her appearance is industry inspired and received authentic approval from Molly Proffitt, CEO of Ker-Chunk Games, LLC., Julie Ann Crommett, former entertainment industry educator in chief at Google and current VP of Multicultural Audience Engagement at The Walt Disney Studios, and Kimberly Bryant, founder and executive director at Black Girls Code. The doll’s forward thinking look is on par with what you may run into in any developer studio today, and her laptop comes working with REAL CODE! Yes, Barbie’s computer screen has legitimate working code. Her computer shows Javascript and her surrounding work area sports sheets with C++ and C#. Mattel took a step further and helped young fans learn that the technology industry can be much more than just coding. The packaging goes on to describe the depth of the industry: “Game development involves storytelling, art & graphic design, audio design, & computer programming. Because there are so many aspects to creating a game, teamwork is important.” Honored as career of the year, Game Developer Barbie has become a new role model for young girls. The idea of playing “house” or dressing up Barbie dolls might seem kind of silly, but think back to when you were your youngest and in your most imaginative stage – playing with your dolls made you imagine you were the character your doll portrayed. That’s part of what was so exciting! A little kid in their bedroom suddenly had the mindset that they could be the president or fly a plane. Now, little kids can imagine themselves in a tech industry writing code, developing games, and so much more! Barbie continues to see success because what she represents evolves as the trends, industries and potential for young girls continues to evolve. While her looks and body dimensions have been scrutinized over the years, what Barbie represents is no longer her physical features, it’s her ability to do and be anything! And now – a career in STEM is completely in reach – for dolls and young girls.

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