back to article Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie fired in three-way fsck row

Toy giant Mattel has withdrawn from sale its painfully sexist Barbie book I Can Be A Computer Engineer after a storm of protest. It apologized for making the anatomically-impossible doll incapable of fixing a PC without two lads' help – let alone program any software for one. "The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Friday on my mind

    A pointy haired Barbie, now there's a thought that makes me shudder, where's my pink cattle prod.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Friday on my mind

      Why? You are in the mood to be prodded by one?

      Me coat...

      1. Khaptain Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Friday on my mind

        >Why? You are in the mood to be prodded by one?

        If my PHB was a Barbie I would probably consider the idea.

        Friday . Time its time for one of these ->

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Friday on my mind

          >If my PHB was a Barbie I would probably consider the idea.

          Mine is and I *won't* consider the idea.

    2. big_D Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Friday on my mind

      My thought exactly as I clicked the comments button... Have an up vote.

      And as it's Friday, a beer as well.

  2. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Sounds like my boss

    Ridicules your ideas, then a year later announces "I have an idea...."

    Paris, because she is good at extracting biological data transfers from a "fat" pipe.

  3. nsld

    i look forward to more real world barbie books

    Such classics as:

    Barbie the mumsnetter - an everyday tale of a toxic life in nappy valley punctuated with lattes and deep conversations with other barbies about how awful ken is.

    Barbie the career women - nothing gets in the way of her flight to the top, so Ken ends up banging the nanny, his personal trainer and barbies best friend

    1. petur
      Pint

      Re: i look forward to more real world barbie books

      ROTFL! Have a beer!

    2. Cipher
      Coat

      Re: i look forward to more real world barbie books

      Divorce Barbie. Cost: $ 5,000.00

      Because she comes with all of Ken's stuff...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: i look forward to more real world barbie books

      The latter is somewhat possible. The former... Do not think so. It would be rather difficult to produce something capable of using the nappies in the first place with such grossly deformed anatomical (mis)proportions.

    4. Michael Thibault

      Re: i look forward to more real world barbie books

      > ... nothing gets in the way of her flight to the top ...

      Ah, priorities!

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    To paraphrase Marvin

    I get a headache trying to think down at the level of those storytellers (prhase used without prejudice).

    The "quality of that story reminds me of a snoopy cartoon, where snoopy gets a rejection letter for a story he has submitted, together with a rejection for the next story he might want to submit.

  5. IT Hack

    Amazon

    Doll going for 230 quid.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Barbie-Can-Computer-Engineer-Doll/dp/B0042ESG9W

    Malibu Stacy must be laughing all the way to the celluloid...

  6. Stuart Halliday
    Facepalm

    Let's hope they sack the Writer and all those people that approved it for release. Shame on them.

    1. Craigness

      Loser

      There was a similar storyline in an episode of Lost: The Hot Blonde One was asked to gather sticks for a fire but turned on the charm and got The Fat Guy to fetch them instead. Her brother complained that she'd not fetched the sticks but she pointed out that she actually had. She and Barbie are equally empowered but feminists won't see it that way because they want equal representation only in safe, well-respected, high-paying jobs like Programmer and will never demand equality in lumber yards.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Stuart

      I for one hope that someday people will grow back a bit of common sense and stop looking for meanings which aren't there in the first place.

      So just because Barbie is a girl you can't write up a story about how she doesn't understand computers because she's a girl and therefore its sexist? However, you can write up such a story when the main character is a male? So how is that not being sexist?

      I'm getting annoyed too; with the double morals being uphold.

      So when someone writes a story about how a girl doesn't know anything about a computer its an outrage (even though, shudder, some people (who cares about gender in the first place? you? you sexist!) actually really don't know shit about computers).

      Yet when someone writes a story about how certain women allow themselves to be degraded to mere party / company or heck: sex slaves (Fifty shades of grey anyone?) then it's quickly turning into a best seller. Oh I know: "that's different because its targeted at adults".

      Sure, however; this Barbie book was targeted at teens and from what I can tell only a bunch of stuck-up adults actually had problems with it. So... different? How?

      In my opinion some people should be forced to watch The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs. A South Park episode no less. One of the many reasons why I think the older seasons were /so/ much better than what we got now.

      SO basically; the boys write a book, with the only intend to make it as offensive and disgusting as possible. A mother (don't want to spoil the plot ;)) finds it, gets disgusted with it yet still thinks she understands "what the meaning of the story is".

      While in fact there was none. Just writing up a disgusting piece of work for fun. Using as many "no no" words as possible.

      This is IMO no different. Just because Barbie is a girl some people consider it sexism if she doesn't know shit about computers. Apparently those people are even totally incapable to realize that the target audience would never get those ideas of sexism.

      Unless of course you bring them into contact with such. Like, for example, making a huge fuss about it and making all the kids believe that this actually is a BIG deal, even though they never would have thought so in the first place.

      And voila; now all of a sudden you realized the exact opposite of what you tried to do; because now the people involved get into the stereotyping that "writing stories about girls who don't know IT is bad".

      Why it's bad? Would anyone ask that question at the risk of being called a sexist?

      So now we're down to "girls aren't bad with IT per definition, because 'we' said so".

      Gee, and when I put it like that it sure as heck sounds like dictatorship to me!

      Who cares about allowing people to decide for themselves if they think the story is suitable for their children or not?. Naah, who cares about freedom of choice anyway? This is all for the common good after all!

      Yah, and that last sentence is what most dictators also use to justify their actions. Just saying....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Stuart

        The irony of course is that in the real world women can and do get jobs in IT. Many quite high up. On the other hand if a guy goes to interview in a skirt suit with pink nail polish he'd be lucky to get past reception. If we're going to properly deal with gender equality it's going to take more than a barbie doll and an angry mob...

  7. Ketlan
    Devil

    Pink crapfest

    '...a bespectacled Barbie – pink frames, of course...backed up her work on a pink, heart-shaped USB drive she wears as a necklace...wiping out Skipper's homework. Skipper is so annoyed she starts a pillow fight with her sister.'

    Dear God, is it 1960 again?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pink crapfest

      Take a walk down the girls' aisle of any toy store and you'll see that the only change is the prevalence of pink LEDs.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Pink crapfest

        >Take a walk down the girls' aisle of any toy store and you'll see that the only change is the prevalence of pink LEDs.

        Now why would an El Ref aficionado walk down the little girls aisle of toy-r-us... Is there something else you are not telling is......

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Pink crapfest

          I think it's referred to as 'research'.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pink crapfest

            Or having daughters, who, despite our best efforts, love all things Barbie.

            I feel a trial at the Hague is due for the creators of Barbie, Pokemon and whatever that stupid show is called where the kids mingle with animated "beings" who can't talk properly "LaLa not like"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Probably more to add to the list but that's a good start..... crimes against humanity... a pox on their houses....

            1. Bleu

              Re: Pink crapfest

              With you on pocket monsters, they seem to grab a demonic hold on the minds of children.

              I can never work out why.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pink crapfest

          > Now why would an El Ref aficionado walk down the little girls aisle of toy-r-us

          And why do you assume it's an aficionado and not aficionada?

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: Pink crapfest

            @And why do you assume it's an aficionado and not aficionada?

            Statistics + El Reg

      2. Ragarath

        Re: Pink crapfest

        Take a walk down the girls' aisle of any toy store and you'll see that the only change is the prevalence of pink LEDs.

        You will find that most things are pink because that is what the majority of girls like. It is not people forcing them to do it (most of the time).

        My daughter is pink mad but we thought she would grow up a tomboy. The first year of her life with two older brothers was all about army and lego and dinosaurs (the sterotypical boy toys though she does like them too). The strange thing, pink, she loves it and dolls and all the sterotypical girly things, though as mentioned she gives the boys as good as they get with the boy toys (note the boys play with her dolls too and we encourage it).

        Basically what I am trying to say here is that the companies that make these things know that the majority tend to be this way because of our biology. Hence they try to cater towards what is going to sell the most, hence pink.

        This book is obviously belittling Women. We are trying to teach our kids they can do anything but, the pink thing stands, most girls like pink and it is not people necessarily forcing them to like it.

        1. Meerkatjie

          Re: Pink crapfest

          Not entirely - most of the pink preference is due to culture not biology. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2007/aug/25/genderissues

          My grandfather preferred pink and red related clothing when he was alive and when we were in Thailand I saw more pink in the men than I did on the women.

          If "women love pink and men blue" was completely biological then most or all cultures would have a distinct preference between the colours.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Pink crapfest

            "in Thailand I saw more pink in the men than I did on the women."

            Snort :D How could you tell?

            I'm trying to work out how many levels this works on, probably one less than I think it does anyhow.

            1. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: Pink crapfest

              @Sir Runcible

              I had to read your comment twice before the penny dropped, then chuckled at the thought of how the OP could possibly have made that observation.

          2. Ragarath

            Re: Pink crapfest

            @Meerkatjie

            Thanks for that link, but what does this opinion piece have to do with what I observed in my own kin?

            A bad survey done badly (and with older people with a bias already), proves nothing but neither does the opinion of the writer in denying it.

            In fact reading that article where it mentions cultures, it is actually talking about different races, so there may even be biological differences. Or, are you trying to tell me that all the races evolved in the same way?

            I and a friend had a pink phase when we were in our teens, how does that relate to a younger person / baby choosing one thing over the other? How do you tell what is conscious and unconscious? Can you please point me to a scientific paper on this and not a newspaper opinion piece please?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pink crapfest

            > If "women love pink and men blue" was completely biological then most or all cultures would have a distinct preference between the colours.

            Indeed. I seem to remember reading somewhere that pre-Victorian times, pink was the usual colour for boy baby clothes and blue for the girls, the exact reverse from how things are now.

            The "girliness" of pink seems to be a fairly recent innovation.

            1. Bleu

              Re: Pink crapfest

              So you are reading the same articles. That comes from the Smithsonian on-line. I can't see any evidence for the article's claims of colour preference, but then, I wasn't around a hundred years ago.

              I would love to ask Zelda or F. Scott about it.

          4. fearnothing

            Re: Pink crapfest

            Quite. At the beginning of the last century, pink was for boy babies and blue for girls because pink was considered more manly. It's all socialisation. "Girls inherently prefer pink" is bullcrap.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Pink crapfest

      I hoped this would seqgue into a hot sisterly lesbian sexxor, but no.

  8. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Not far off

    I have spoken to many "software engineers" (male and female) who match the Barbie of this book more closely than anything else. They come up with an idea, draw some pretty pictures, then hand it to a team of programmers who do the real work. Then they claim all the credit.

    These are just like the architects who draw pretty pictures, then hand them to a team of civil engineers to actually make it work. But the architect, obviously, gets the credit, not the people who turned a drawing not too dissimilar to those produced in crayon by a 5 year old into a real design.

    1. thomas k.

      Re: Not far off

      "These are just like the architects who draw pretty pictures, then hand them to a team of civil engineers to actually make it work."

      Gee, why does Frank Gehry immediately come to mind? Although, in that instance, 'pretty' really is in the eye of the beholder.

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Not far off

        I've actually had a lot of that from my father. He's a civil engineer, and has banged heads with many architects over his time. There have been several instances where the "design" (i.e. pretty picture) is either impossible to build with current technology, or so eye-wateringly expensive it may as well be. This never deterred the architect, and my father's "diplomatic skills" (or lack thereof) often ended up with him quitting, being fired, or being pushed sideways into another project. He would often later find out that the architect backed down, and the alternative design he had proposed was accepted when someone who didn't just p*** everyone off proposed it in a more diplomatic way.

        BTW I know that this speaks volumes about my dad's likeability and employability. I don't like him much myself at times, and certainly wouldn't want to work with him!

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: Not far off

          "BTW I know that this speaks volumes about my dad's likeability and employability. I don't like him much myself at times, and certainly wouldn't want to work with him!"

          You should ask him if he ever had another child about 46 years ago who he never met. Maybe I'm your long lost brother - I must've inherited a similar attitude from somewhere!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not far off

          Both my parents are architects and they hated the ones like that too!

          My father was much liked by contractors, as the son of a builder he made sure if he drew it, it could be built!

        3. Bleu

          Re: Not far off

          Your father sounds very sensible on the subject of 'Architects'.

          My mother? Let me tell you about my mother ...

      2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Not far off

        Gee, why does Frank Gehry immediately come to mind?

        Wasn't he the illustrator of the Dr. Seuss books?

    2. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Not far off

      Knowing how to type the correct search terms into Google, can easily get you branded as some sort of "computer wizard".

  9. Def Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "...she starts a pillow fight with her sister."

    Barbie Does Paris?

    1. Oz

      Re: "...she starts a pillow fight with her sister."

      I was thinking the same thing - two guys come to "fix the computer"... I get ya! Low-brow p0rn0 flick, here we come

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "...she starts a pillow fight with her sister."

        No doubt featuring some quality dialogue like "Oooooohhhh, I see that your drive is not the only thing that's hard!"

  10. Turtle

    Vocabulary.

    "As you'd expect for a book aimed at preteen doll players this isn't Hemmingway."

    Why not? The vocabulary's too extensive for it to be Hemmingway?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Vocabulary.

      "Hemingway"

      1. Turtle

        Re: Vocabulary.

        Irony Alert: note that I used the same spelling that's in the article (in spite of that fact that it was changed after I posted my comment.)

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Vocabulary.

          It turns out that Winston Smith was working in the spelling department.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey don't go mocking the 'creatives'

    IT is just a tool. Of course the programming and fixing goes to the IT department. All that standing around being fabulous and pretty isn't going to do itself you know.

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Hey don't go mocking the 'creatives'

      IT is just a tool.

      You're just a tool!

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Hey don't go mocking the 'creatives'

        Obviously someone didn't understand the subtlety of Dr Mouse's comment.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Hey don't go mocking the 'creatives'

          Thanks Khaptain, at least someone got it :)

  12. MyNetHandle

    Someone released a web app to rewrite the book from a feminist standpoint.

    https://computer-engineer-barbie.herokuapp.com/

    Porn star Barbie incoming via 4chan in 3....2....1

  13. jake Silver badge

    Somewhere ...

    ... Admiral Grace is spinning, furiously.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Somewhere ...

      Grace being ever so gracious, and following the basic rules of leadership, would have praised Barbie's team with the team present (and hopefully some onlookers). Then taken her aside to explain that it was her team that did the job. Taking all the credit is very wrong and can result in serious repercussions in her future endeavors. (It would definitely have a deleterious on her next Fitness Report if such behaviors continued.)

      I've run into glory-hounds before, even transferred to my choice of duty station. (Captain had no choice in the matter). They usually don't last long as the troops see that going that extra bit results in nothing for them or their subordinates. Hell, once I was order to never help a certain LCDR. His commander was going to flame out on his own.

      Long post to help make sense on why Barbie wouldn't cut in Adm. Grace Hopper's world. Hell of a leader.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Somewhere ...

      Thank you.

      Grace Hopper, that is.

  14. AndrueC Silver badge
    Joke

    I think it's offensive to men for suggesting they are so weak minded that they will do anything for a pretty girl.

    Er...

  15. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear me no.

    I have to agree with the outraged on this one. The doll itself seemed to be a reasonably positive effort on Mattel's part, but the book totally undermines that.

    getting boys to do the hard stuff and then claiming all the credit, although we can all think of a few bosses (male and female) who've turned this into a successful management strategy - perhaps the author cocked up and accidentally submitted his work on a management training manual to Mattel.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear me no.

      Err... if she did not get the boys to do the hard work her name would not be Barbie. Let's face it - this is what Barbie indoctrination is all about.

      Disclaimer - I got a daughter age 6 which is given samples of the anorexic wh*re effigy once in a while as a present. She plays with them from time to time too (not often thankfully).

      However, you are more likely to see her feet sticking from the 80l crate of lego in the playroom looking for the bits she need to complete the next model. That or trying to disassemble the shared computer with a screwdriver I left lying around :) For which I am greateful - she seems to be reasonably impervious to indoctrination. The fact that pestering for anything based on adverts on CITV is an automatic NO in our house probably was some help here too.

      1. Craigness

        Re: Oh dear me no.

        Girls who play with dolls, and their parents, are the impervious ones. The pressure I see to make girls play as boys is quite aggressive.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Voland's right hand - Re: Oh dear me no.

        Our daughters played with Barbie but were also impervious to indoctrination - for the same reason as yours, I think - instant No to anything on an advert. Eldest is quite happy to take a laptop apart to replace the screen. I'm only daring enough to replace a hard drive or memory.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And they are pissed off because barbie (oh she's not ugly and fat like real women can be) didn't code it? Barbie stands for everything women can be with a bit of plastic surgery and liposuction and a brain the size of the planet. Let's not set the bar too high for girls, of course she can program! Yeah, and I'm GI Joe, not that I saw him working in a hairdressers salon recently.

  18. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

    Just see:

    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-05-20/

    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-05-21/

    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-05-22/

    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-05-23/

    Unluckily, I met one like that...

    Anyway, guess "girls" now understand how IT people feel everytime they are portraied in some blockbuster movie - fat, wearing teenager clothes in their forties, unkempt beard and hair, an old pizza beside the keyboard, living with mama, etc. etc.

    Of course this stereotypes are OK, if Brad Pitt is the hero....

    1. Martin

      Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

      Realistic?

      I hate to break it to you, but Dilbert is not a documentary.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Devil

        Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

        Realistic?

        I hate to break it to you, but Dilbert is not a documentary.

        Martin,

        Yes, I used to believe that too. I hate to break it to you though, but that all changed once I got a job at a large multi-national.

        Next you'll be trying to tell me that Chris Morris's 'The Day Today' is supposed to be comedy. When it's actually training material used by most media organisations.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

        Just Dilbert, as many other strips, take inspirations from real life - and you missed the comment I had a first hand experience of someone like that in the strips... there are women who learnt they have power over men, and will use it to reach their goals.

        The dilbert strips were there just for a smile...

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

        Are you sure? Everytime I read his comic strip, I look around and wonder which cubicle Scott Adams sits in.

      4. Peter Simpson 1

        Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

        ...Dilbert is not a documentary.

        Oh, yes , yes it most certainly *is*.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

      I guess I was lucky. The girl I tutored in the algebra would trade for kisses. Lots of them. On the other hand (I'm an economist, sue me), she could strip down, repair, even improve anything mechanical. Anything. And when she tuned my bike, well I had to pay in kisses. Lots of them.

      1. Craigness
        Coat

        Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

        "she could strip down, repair, even improve anything mechanical"

        Sounds like the perfect woman, but why did she have to be naked?

        1. Michael Thibault

          Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

          >why did she have to be naked?

          A zen thing. You wouldn't understand.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

            >why did she have to be naked?

            Static electricity.

            See also: Lain

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not the right way to promote IT among girls... but realistic, after all

        That is the kind of Capitalism that people Like or Hate. It causes feelings of Enjoyment or Envy or Hatred. It makes people want to Cheer or Rise up with Knives. It speaks to me of both of you knowing your own strengths and weaknesses and working it all out.

        Realistic ? Yes I agree, but I went to school 20 years ago but yet, it is a realism that existed then and might still today

  19. Crisp Silver badge

    Blatant Misandry

    Why is it the two lads doing all the work?

  20. John Deeb

    Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

    Not sure why some people were so upset by this Barbie episode. It's always been a teen-age fashion doll, that was the whole point! She was supposed to be superficial and stupid while having as many accessories, friends and glamour as possible. Although it's based on a certain actually existing type who are around already since the 1950's and arose with modernity I suppose. But to start now to wonder if the doll might be still encouraging the Barbie in the child.... that's really,...uhmm naive? It's the Barbie World which influenced and influences the doll as icon and gadget. The criticism on the book is like believing FPS games has signicant influence when ti comes to murder in the streets or terrorism. A message then to all the upset women and men: the doll is not meant to educate. If you think education has anything to do with the doll or the books than you should get a job in the fashion industry for a few years and learn how the business, and the world, really works. It will make you laugh more and cry less about these things while at the same time realize the modern world is very much populated by the Barby types seeking assistence everywhere but not because of education or toys.

    1. Grifter

      Re: Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

      >> the doll is not meant to educate.

      Nor does it. However it does influence, especially very impressionable minds. Perhaps you are able to look at it and shrug off its influences because you've developped this skill over many years being an adult, if so I congratulate you. We should certainly hold children to the same standards as yourself!

    2. Robin

      Re: Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

      "so upset by this Barbie episode"

      "populated by the Barby types"

      "the doll is not meant to educate"

      Perhaps it should have done so?

      1. Bleu

        Re: Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

        I was going to throw in a comment on Aqua's great mega-hit, too, congrats to you for being in first!

    3. Bleu

      Re: Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

      The Barbie type will be aroud until the coming collapse, as will her male counterparts.

      On another thread, some fool repeated the received wisdom that the population will start to fall after reaching 9,000 million around 2050. Not going to happen. Humans today are lemmings (yeah, I did enjoy the old game, thanks to those of you who are and are not at Rockstar, also loved Chinatown Wars).

      Collapse is coming, it will be within this century. It will likely not be acknowledged at first.

      Population growth will not magically stop at 9,000 million around 2050, it will continue until some kind of collapse.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

        ...some fool repeated the received wisdom that the population will start to fall after reaching 9,000 million around 2050. Not going to happen. ..

        "Some fool" was repeating the consensus opinion of the world's population specialists, who have been commissioned to do multiple studies into this area.

        Perhaps you could tell us the basis for your rejection of all this work? Perhaps all the scientists are conspiring because they have been bribed by Big Oil?

  21. chivo243 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Let down

    I was hoping the article's title reflected the content. Something along the lines of a good looking tech lady getting fired for getting the lads all fired up!

  22. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Barbies can't fix computers...

    but if I remember Small Soldiers correctly,

    computers can 'fix' barbies.

    clip

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MEN!

    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MEN ARE ALLOWED TO WRITE LITERATURE FOR YOUNG GIRLS!

    NEXT WEEK 'BARBIE CHAINED TO THE COOKER'?

    AND HAVE YOU SEEN HOW TWISTED BARBIE'S LEGS ARE UNDER THE SCHOOL DESK? THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MEN ARE ALLOWED TO DESIGN SCHOOL FURNITURE.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: MEN!

      Better than when irate islamists are allowed to design school furniture, I'm sure.

      1. razorfishsl

        Re: MEN!

        Birka Barbie

        1. Tim Jenkins

          Re: MEN!

          A quick visit to her brothers Action Man / GI Joe collection and voila, Peshmerga Barbie

          http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2014/oct/09/kurdish-peshmerga-fighters-women-on-the-frontline-in-pictures

          (Showed my daugher those pictures and she cheered; I must be doing something right...)

      2. Bleu

        Re: MEN!

        They usually don't have school furniture, the curriculum is mainly rote-learning lines from an odd book.

        ... and girls aren't allowed.

        Though they may be receiving a favour there if the system is just madrassas.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: MEN!

      Actually the author is a woman... unless she asked a men to write the book on her behalf <G>

      1. linicks

        Re: MEN!

        I guess she only outlined the story - then got two blokes to write it up.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits

    dickall

  25. ScottAS2

    If only I could have written this in pink to appeal to girls

    At least the books aren't a complete write-off: they'll be re-issued as "Middle-Management Barbie" next week.

  26. Red Bren

    Barbie films are just as bad

    Innacurate retellings of classic fairy tales with Barbie playing the kead role. The moral of the story always seems to be with hard work and quick thinking you can overcome adversity to become a princess, because anything else is a failure.

    My 4 year old daughter is obsessed with these films but thankfully wants to be an astronaut.

    1. Bleu

      Re: Barbie films are just as bad

      What is a 'kead role'?

      I enjoyed the Barbie game on Game Boy. Right time. Haven't heard of the Barbie versions of fairy tales, they sound like a laugh.

      I wanted to be an astronaut, too, will never happen.

      1. Red Bren

        Re: Barbie films are just as bad

        It's a typo. I meant "lead" role, but my phone had other ideas and I didn't spot it.

        Don't give up the dream. I still want to be an astronaut when I grow up!

  27. Mike Wilson
    FAIL

    Dear Mattel

    1930 called and they want their attitudes back. Strewth, I'm an old bloke and I'm offended by this. I'm reminded of that ambitious but otherwise useless bimbo who was running some govt scheme to teach kids to code but admitted she couldn't code herself. I expect she's the prospective Labour candidate for somewhere or other by now. How's that for an idea for the next Barbie role model book & doll? £200 from all good toy shops and most crappy ones as well.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Dear Mattel

      "I'm reminded of that ambitious but otherwise useless bimbo who was running some govt scheme to teach kids to code but admitted she couldn't code herself."

      Which would suggest Mattel got it right. Not how we might like it to be but how it actually is. But it does beg the question how it should be and how that should be reflected in fiction.

      I am all for standing on one's own feet acquiring skills to do things but that shouldn't preclude recognising people do have better aptitudes and talents for some things than others. To create false expectations in the opposite direction is as equally harmful as promoting bimboism. Not everyone can do everything or do everything well, but that doesn't make you a failure.

  28. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Skipper

    Why is Barbie's sister called Skipper? Does she wear a beard and a greasy sou'wester? Does she look like a tinned pilchard? A penguin?

    With all the names in the world to choose from, it seems an odd selection.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Re: Skipper

      "Why is Barbie's sister called Skipper? Does she wear a beard and a greasy sou'wester? Does she look like a tinned pilchard? A penguin?"

      It was a misprint for Skippy.

      Presumably a mix up at the printing presses.

  29. sjiveson

    Feminist Hacker Barbie

    Ah, this explains all the great #FeministHackerBarbie cartoons doing the rounds on Twitter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Feminist Hacker Barbie

      > Ah, this explains all the great #FeministHackerBarbie cartoons doing the rounds on Twitter.

      We already had XKCD's Mom.

  30. Bleu

    'Well said' to that.

    'we can all think of a few bosses (male and female) who've turned this into a successful management strategy', although Barbie is not a manager in this scenario.

    Amusing that the product had been around for years before the twit-storm broke out.

    Also amusing that it is not a rare phenomenon IRL!

    To the earlier poster who referred to Grace Hopper, who really did walk the walk, Cobol remains big in banking and finance after how many years? She was a commodore, not an admiral.

    1. PhilBuk

      Re: 'Well said' to that.

      Grace Hopper ended up as a Rear-Admiral so I presume the US Navy do the same as the Royal Navy and give officers a honorary promotion on retirement. Can any left-pondian confirm this?

      Phil.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Bleu

        Re: 'Well said' to that.

        I am embarrassed. However, I always try to post from memory.

        I checked, the US navy renamed 'commodore', 'rear admiral (lower half)', typical grade inflation on their part. Personally, I think commodore is more stylish.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'Well said' to that.

          "rear admiral (lower half)"

          Not sure whether serious.

          Also, the Barbie graphical style is weird, like a collage. Why is it that way?

          Also, Skipper looks better than Barbie, both are about 14 so what are they doing writing games which seem to be inspired by SHRDLU and Steven is not portrayed as an asocial nerd to be made fun of, because LOL Computers, so there is that. Looks suspiciously like a jock though. Stay away.

          We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits.

          P is now NP

          1. Greg J Preece

            Re: 'Well said' to that.

            Also, Skipper looks better than Barbie, both are about 14

            Errr, I know that line was glib, but I'm pretty sure that in most Barbie continuities Skipper is indeed 14. Down, boy.

  31. Andrew Peake

    the idea of a software engineer not being able to fix hardware is not unknown - only last month we had to spend 2 hours on a conference call explaining to an application development team that, no they couldnt load their new module into a specific SAP system in our maintenance window because we would actually have the system shutdown for a break-fix.

    We ended up having to say it very slowly, very loudly over and over again

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      > We ended up having to say it very slowly, very loudly over and over again

      Must have been that satellite link to The Other Subcontinent.

  32. thepenguinmaster

    The author didn’t make her stupid and ditsy in the book because she’s a girl, they made her character like that because she is blonde.

  33. perlcat
    Coat

    You guys got it all wrong.

    I want Barbie to do my laptop servicing.

  34. Peter Simpson 1
    Happy

    My daughter was the IT dept for a museum...

    and our IT director here at work is a very capable woman...so I'm getting a kick out of this.

    // Women do very well in IT, assume otherwise at your peril.

  35. ElectricFox
    Paris Hilton

    I love this paragraph from the blog:

    When you hold the book in your hands to read a story, the opposite book is upside down, facing out. So the final insult to this entire literary disaster is that when you read “Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer,” it appears that you are so fucking dumb, you’re reading “Barbie: I Can Be an Actress” upside down.

  36. Cynicalmark

    Ahhh Corporate Misogyny

    Oh dear - yet again Corporate dinosaurs show how far back in the 80's they are stuck....I'm not surprised the old Barbie issues are in the fore again, frankly its time the dirty old men at the top were cleared out of industry and positions of power. just tired of so many wrong messages sent to kids these days...

  37. Chris G Silver badge

    Pink

    "We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits."

    And some of them are smart and can achieve whatever they want by hard work and using their brains; others can achieve what ever they want by using their brains and realising they also have good looks and can include those as part of their success strategy.

    A good friend of mine had a very blonde 'enhanced' girlfriend for a few years she was no Einstein and knew it, she wasn't stupid either and knew that looks and the willingness to be arm and eye candy was a skill that could help her to achieve things, a nice girl and still a friend of mine. Everything she could get in pink she would buy including her wardrobe to keep her pink clothes in. Also liked Hello Kitty ( preferably in pink).

    Often appearance is almost as important as skills in getting a job, there is nothing wrong in teaching that being a software/hardware engineer or as my very pretty feminine step daughter was for a while a motorcycle mechanic but giving girls the impression that they must achieve is as bad as telling them they mustn't. All kids should be encouraged to try things and give them support in those things they show interest in.

    Better to teach all kids (Girls and boys equally) to 'Be the best you can', believing you live in a world where anything is possible and without limits is going to make a lot of people disappointed when they don't achieve much because they have limits.

    Regarding IT as has been mentioned many times here before, to get girls or many boys interested, make the teaching interesting not teaching by rote from teachers who are not interested in the subject.

  38. JustNiz

    >>> We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits.

    So deluding them with lies and false expectations is now a GOOD thing?

  39. JustNiz

    >> Barbie's 1337 skills seem to devolve down to getting boys to do the hard stuff and then claiming all the credit,

    Actually all 3 females on my CS course got through their whole degrees exactly this way.

    1. Michael Thibault

      Is there a problem here? Do you fear they're going to forget the fu once they move into TRW? Or that the fu is less applicable there?

  40. John Tserkezis

    "The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story doesn’t reflect the brand’s vision for what Barbie stands for," a Mattel spokesperson said in a Facebook posting.

    Bullshit. You signed off on it, you put your name on it, you put your brand on it, it's yours.

    Not getting away with it this easily.

  41. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I don't think this is sexist.

    I think it's worse - I think it shows the classic view that the Arts graduates have of Engineering, and the Sciences generally.

    The Barbie books are meant to show Barbie being successful. The people who wrote this obviously thought that they WERE showing Barbie as successful. They just didn't have the first clue about what a 'Computer Engineer' did.

    And, being Arts types, they didn't feel the need to find out. They just decided it was something to do with computer games, and involved talking to geeks. So that's what they wrote.

    You or I would have had a plot involving the school not being able to allocate classrooms or trace equipment, and Barbie putting together a database application to sort this out - testing and documenting the same. I really don't think that Arts students connect that sort of thing with computers at all. They just think that services 'happen'...

    1. gh4662

      Re: I don't think this is sexist.

      At least the book was written by a female writer or the feminists would have had a field day.

      In reality how many games designers code as well?

      Why has a child's book got so much media coverage aren't there more important things to worry about?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: I don't think this is sexist.

        I feel this is basically having fun with the moral outragists, running with the wolves, all while the world burns etc...

  42. Greg J Preece

    If you haven't checked out the #feministHackerBarbie Twitter tag, go do so. It's hilarious.

  43. JP 6
    Mushroom

    Price of banishment!

    I just checked bookfinder.com to notice the price of the book. It was originally (US) $4.99. Price has gone up. But you can still get it at UNDER US$100.

    Wow. That makes a few used book dealers happy.

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