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You've Come a Long Way, Barbie

Since 1959, Barbie has pursued a whole range of professional endeavors, from stewardess (circa 1961) to aerobics instructor (circa 1984). And now,...


Since 1959, Barbie has pursued a whole range of professional endeavors, from stewardess (circa 1961) to aerobics instructor (circa 1984). And now, like the modern woman that she is, Barbie is embarking a whole new era for her 126th incarnation-this time around, as a computer engineer.

A far cry from the early nineties, when Teen Talk Barbie was programmed to say, "Math class is tough," Computer Engineer Barbie will, at the very least, look the part.

Designers worked with the National Academy of Engineering and the Society of Women Engineers to develop the proper ensemble. According to Mattel: "A binary code patterned tee and equipped with all the latest gadgets including a smart phone, Bluetooth headset, and laptop travel bag."

But not to worry, her "geek chic" look will still include Barbie's trademark 18-inch waist and impossibly high heels, since writing code must never be done in flats.

The New York Times quotes Lynn Langit, a developer at Microsoft, who specializes in teaching programming to young girls, as being excited by the prospect of luring more of them into the male-dominated field: "We can use any sort of positive influence that we have, because the number of girls studying programming is abysmal."

Will this latest version convince girls that they really can do anything?

Or are the messages we send to young boys and girls still so very different. Case in point, Three Musketeers' Ken, whose tagline is, ""I want to be an inventor!" versus Barbie's, "This riding outfit is the cutest!"

Photo via Mattel.
















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