Barbie Wants to be a Computer Engineer But Can't Figure out how to Reboot ComputerSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

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Barbie Wants to be a Computer Engineer But Can't Figure out how to Reboot Computer

19 November 2014 at 10:12:47 AM

Happened upon this yesterday at The Consumerist.  Barbie "CAN BE A COMPUTER ENGINEER" except that she requires men to do the actual programming work for her, is incompetent, and then takes the credit for what someone else does and she cannot do. 

She then proceeds to give her computer a virus while failing to email her design ideas to the boys who must help her, and can’t figure out to reboot her computer. If that’s not bad enough, she also puts a virus on Skipper’s laptop, losing all her important homework files.

And yes, there’s more — a whole lot, including a scene where the boys tell Barbie she can fix things faster if they help, and the end where Barbie takes the credit for all the work she didn’t do and gets extra credit to boot: ” ‘I guess I can be a computer engineer!” says Barbie happily.’ “

Those are not the messages parents say they want their daughters to hear, as reviewers have been noting on the Amazon reviews of the book since January. 

Also talked about on Gizmodo

From Helen Jane: Steven and Brian are nice guys, I'm sure. But Steven and Brian are also everything frustrating about the tech industry. Steven and Brian represent the tech industry assumption that only men make meaningful contributions. Men fix this, men drive this and men take control to finish this. Steven and Brian don't value design as much as code. Steven and Brian represent every time I was talked over and interrupted — every time I didn't post a code solution in a forum because I didn't want to spend the next 72 years defending it. Steven and Brian make more money than I do for doing the same thing. And at the same time, Steven and Brian are nice guys.

The reviews on Amazon are GREAT. Here are a few

I can't believe anyone would think this is appropriate for children. This is nothing but a tasteless way for the author to discourage girls from learning how to be self sufficient people and rely on boys instead.

Barbie is supposed to be a computer engineer and yet she seems to know less about computers than my mom (no offense, Mom). She wants to design a game, but doesn't seem to understand really basic things, like virus protection.

Don't waste your money or your time on this POS.

if you show the so-called computer engineer book to your daughter, or son, be sure to point out that it is ridiculous. one of the first things she does is say she needs some boys to do her coding - that she can NOT be a computer engineer. it doesn't improve. she is not portrayed as a competent computer user much less a computer engineer. i recommend you NOT buy it at all but if you are in a bookshop, and see it, tell the manager that all copies should be taken from the shelves and sent back to the publisher.

Great gift idea for the holidays! Little girls now know to think only of cute puppies, colored blocks, and asking for help from the boys. And little boys will churn out the next WoW and buy up San Francisco. Thanks so much, Amazon, for carrying such strong products!

As a computer engineer who graduated Computer Science in 1983 and never needed a male to find a job or help me with designing or programming IT systems (in fact I usually had to help them), I am appalled by the content of this book. I understand it is targeted at pink-loving, Barbie-owning girls, told by the advertising industry to be soft, cuddly and vacuous, but telling them that they are useless without male expertise is just compounding past sins!

I can't believe you think it is somehow empowering to have Barbie need the help two boys to both code her game and remove a virus. Really? Is the author barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen? Cause Barbie might as well be.

Why did no one read this to me as a little girl? Girls can be software engineers?!?! Oh well, it's never to late to follow your dreams. Now if I can just figure out to turn my computer on... Oh boyzzzzzz!!!!

Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my. WHY WHY WHY didn't I have this jem of a book before I went to school to be a software engineer!!! After almost 20 years in the field, working my behind off, I had no idea I just had to flick my long blonde locks and have Steve and Brian do all the work for me. What the heck have I been thinking all these years! I can't believe all of the long hours I have put in and all the hard work. I could have had life on easy street this whole time.

That's it. For the rest of my career I'm putting on pink glasses and having the men do the work for me and sweetly letting me take the credit! Now I can get that huge raise I have been wanting, all thanks to guys like Steve and Brian. Thank you, Barbie, thank you for showing me that it's A-OK for women to sit back and let men take care of everything. Now I can eat my bon bons in peace.

Girls can do math, physics, and programming. This book is insulting to our intelligence and sends a negative message. I can't fathom what the author was thinking.

LOVE This- Barbie as Remixed >>>>>>

Caught my attention because I have myself worked for 5 different software companies, had network certifications for Novell Netware (a now defunct NOS), Lan Manager on OS/2, 3 Com Lan Manager, and Windows NT. I taught Netware at a local community college for awhile, had a Users Group SIG I ran at Infomart for NT, and, in my last job, was in technical support, sales system support, and training at various times, including teaching 7 layer network architecture for NT. I worked really hard to do those things, ON MY OWN, as one of the few women in a sea of men. I learned early on at other software companies to  avoid leaning over the cubicle and asking men anything, instead spending time to research, experiment, or duplicate on my own, as a lot of the men I worked with would see a woman asking questions to be the opportunity to do the patronizing "Let Me Pat You ON the Head While I Explain to You" routine. In fact, I felt resentful if I saw any women that I worked with that used her sex as a way to make inroads with fellow engineers. For example, there was one woman who would encourage men to come around and rub her neck or back while she was at her cubicle and would heavily flirt with them. One of them one day came up behind me and started to massage my neck. I told him to quit and get his hands off me. He told me some time later that that scared the fool out of him. Well, right, because that was highly unprofessional. There wasn't any way that man would have gone up behind another man and started rubbing his neck without permission. 

All of my kids are in computer science. My daughter works for a large telcom company as a tier 2 escalation engineer. One son works as a network support engineer, and the other is engaged in getting his PhD. My husband also has an extensive background as a network and security engineer. 

I honestly believed that the turn of the world during my lifetime was trending away from sexism. Not so. Between the Republican party working tirelessly to take away women's decisions about their own healthcare to people locally who believe I cannot have my own unique opinions by my own work and steam but MUST have had some man involved, life could be really discouraging. But it isn't for me. 

The only reaction that makes sense to me right now is to continue to ridicule those who believe that a woman can't be as smart and resourceful as a man, and must be put in her *place*, whatever that is in their minds, repeatedly. And to call out books like this as nonsense since they, while purporting to show females that they "can", actually puts forth the lesson that they can't, unless they have some men to do the work for them, that they are incompetent to do even simple computer functions, and then are supporting in taking credit for work that isn't even theirs. That is simply insulting, and there isn't any female that should buy into this. 


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1 - salon   16 Dec 2014 @ 3:18:54 PM 

Incidentally, just saw a reply from the lady who wrote that Barbie book

Unfortunately, none of Marenco’s statement to KTM explains exactly why Barbie “Computer Engineer” is unable to code. It’s admirable and incredibly important that Marenco has diversity in mind while writing, and it’s true thatMattel likely needs to break Barbie out of her niceness mold, but that doesn’t change the fact that Barbie could still be incredibly polite with friends of color while also knowing how to code her own game.

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