Have you heard about the Barbie book fiasco? I CAN BE A COMPUTER ENGINEER by Susan Marenco (Random House, 2010) is a picture book about Barbie's foray into computer engineering. Unfortunately, the story fell far, far short of expectations.
Basically, Barbie is depicted as being unable to execute key tasks associated with creating a video game, and must rely on two fellow male students to complete her assignment:
"I'm only creating the design ideas," Barbie says, laughing. "I'll need Steven's and Brian's help to turn it into a real game!"
Barbie, I don't know why you're laughing. It's not funny.
Read the full rundown at Gizmodo: Barbie F*cks It Up Again.
The Internet fixes Barbie's 'I Can Be a Computer Engineer' picture book (via The Verge) is essential reading because it demonstrates what the book could have--should have--been.*
Kathleen Tuite put together a website called Feminist Hacker Barbie, which allows the public to rewrite the book. The results have been amazing.
Commenters at The Verge have pointed out the book's wonky depiction of computer hardware. I wonder if the illustrator would have taken more care had this been a book aimed at boys.
Mattel's Barbie has since issued an apology, which is good, but frankly the damage has already been done.