Barbie has had a lot of different careers: ballerina, film director, spy—the list is endless.
Last January Mattel announced a new job sector for the doll, and gave Barbie the title of game developer. It was slated to be the “Career of the Year” model and now we finally get to witness the coding Barbie in action.
In a piece for Slate, Casey Fiesler discussed why Game Developer Barbie is a huge step forward for Mattel, who previously attempted to place Barbie in the tech world. Last year, Mattel came under fire for a sexist book that tried to portray Barbie as a computer engineer and failed miserably.
Fiesler, who is an assistant professor of Information Science at CU Boulder, detailed information about the Barbie—and what non-coders may not realize is that the doll actually is imputing code on her laptop.
“With some help from my colleagues as well as the Twitter hive mind, we were able to just barely make out the code on Barbie’s laptop. The interface appears to be Alice, an educational programming environment, and the code it’s outputting is ActionScript (or maybe Haxe),” Fiesler wrote.
Fiesler, who remixed the sexist Barbie book to reflect a true female engineer experience, also points out the importance of the message that is highlighted on the box of the new Barbie: teamwork.
According to Fiesler’s photographs, the back of the box reads:
“Game development involves storytelling, art & graphic design, audio design, & computer programming. Because there are so many aspects to creating a game, teamwork is important.”
Despite this, there are still critical issues that could have been addressed with the latest Barbie.
“I wish that they had included a diversity of Barbies,” Fiesler told Mashable. “It would be so great to see a black Game Developer Barbie, or one with one of the new body types. One of the comments I saw was something like ‘You can be anything you want to be as long as you’re gorgeous!’ and I think that’s the lingering problem with Barbie no matter what career they put her in.”
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