The takeover of the world by geeks has just made another giant leap forward. Yesterday, Mattel announced that, as a result of a poll of fans, for Barbie’s next career, she will be a computer engineer.
We at GeekDad are all for anything that might encourage girls to pursue tech careers when they grow up, and this new Barbie might just fit the bill. We especially like that its accessories were chosen with help from the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering, which explains the geek chic shirt with the binary code all over it, and the smartphone with Bluetooth headset.
We’re concerned, however, that the doll will create unrealistic expectations of what a job as a software engineer actually entails. Some of these expectations may be encouraging and some discouraging. For instance, Computer Engineer Barbie is, like most (if not all) Barbies, wearing high heels, which seems a ridiculously uncomfortable shoe choice for a job where nobody really cares what you’re wearing so long as it’s decent.
Here, then, are five ideas that we think would make Computer Engineer Barbie more realistic (in no particular order):
1. The choice of a coffee cup or Mountain Dew can that, once put in her hand, can’t be removed for two hours.
2. A cubicle farm playset, with optional foosball table.
3. A switch to turn on dark circles under Barbie’s eyes from having worked until 2:00AM three days in a row to get all the bugs fixed before the new release is deployed.
4. A wrist brace for when Barbie gets carpal tunnel syndrome.
5. The choice between Mac Computer Engineer Barbie, Windows Computer Engineer Barbie, and Linux Computer Engineer Barbie. Then they could publicize the sales figures daily to encourage geek parents to buy the version they want to win for their kids.
Check out the article on our sibling blog Gadget Lab for more on the subject.