Barbie, whose various careers have taken her from aerobics instructor to supermodel to business executive, will next be a computer engineer, a career chosen by half a million Barbie fans.
Computer Engineer Barbie still has her trademark cascade of blond hair, impossibly small waist, feet frozen on tiptoes to slide into her high heels and a whole lot of hot pink.
She also wears a neon-colored T-shirt with a binary code pattern and carries a smartphone and a Bluetooth headset. Her hot pink glasses will come in handy during late nights coding on her hot pink laptop. Before any one begins complaining, Mattel points out that her accessories were chosen with the help of the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering.
Computer engineer will be the 126th career for Barbie, who turned 50 last year. For the first time, Mattel, which makes the doll, asked people to vote for her career, choosing among computer engineer, architect, environmentalist, news anchor and surgeon.
The choice of computer engineer — a field in which men far outnumber women and in which women’s participation has been declining — was announced Friday at the New York Toy Fair.
Lynn Langit, a developer evangelist at Microsoft who teaches programming to girls and works on a Microsoft program called DigiGirlz that teaches girls about technology careers, said she was thrilled about Barbie’s next career.
“We can use any sort of positive influence that we have, because the number of girls studying programming is abysmal,” she said.
Her only suggestion: that Barbie get a multi-touch netbook next. “If Barbie needs any training, I would be happy to provide it,” she said.
Posted in NYT 2/16/10