Change Her Hair or Change Her Clothes, but Barbie is Teaching 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.
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.