A few weeks back I posted a pic of the newly released Computer Engineer Barbie on my facebook fanpage, and it caused a little bit of a stir. I decided to share some thoughts on the Barbie debate here as a couple of readers challenged me to post about it.
I must say up front that I am not a big fan of barbie dolls. My daughter doesn’t have any, and it would take some serious convincing for me to hand over money for one. For me, the big problem with Barbie is to do with body image. I am not a curvaceous woman by any stretch of the imagination. I was probably in my late teens before I realised I was waiting for curves that would never appear. Barbie has curves in all the “right” places. It’s really important to me to teach both my daughter and my son that a barbie-figure is not the ultimate figure. My figure is just fine. Ok, so there’s a bit of a jelly belly going on after having two kids, but there is nothing WRONG with my figure. I’m not sure that having barbies around the house will reinforce that.
In Barbie’s defence, while not much has changed with her figure her career prospects have certainly improved. I guess that’s why I posted the pic in the first place. Who would have thought 50 years ago that Barbie would be getting her geek on? I know, she still has an hourglass figure, unrealistically long legs and blonde hair to her cinched waist – but more brain than we’ve seen her with before.
Mattel hope geek barbie “inspires a new generation of girls to explore this important high-tech industry, which continues to grow and need future female leaders.” I don’t know. I kinda think that’s going to come down to the example set by real women. Without binary code tees or bluetooth headsets.
So I guess the verdict for me is that Computer Engineer Barbie interests me enough to post her pic online, but not enough to buy her for my daughter. What about you? Do you think Barbie is finally becoming a more balanced babe, with a brain? Or is she still just an idealised body shape with a few geeky (pink) accessories added? (Or – given that she’s just a doll should I stop thinking about it so much and not project my body image issues on to her…?!)