In 2014, Barbie's parent company Mattel faced the ire of the internet for the content of a book called "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer," which implied girls weren't good coders and needed guys to help them do the work. There was an I Can Be a Computer Engineer Barbie doll with a pink laptop, but the doll's good intentions were overshadowed by the book controversy. Mattel apparently listened to its critics ahead of the release of the new Barbie Careers Game Developer Doll.
The developer sports glasses, blue jeans and a green jacket, an outfit described as "industry inspired." You could see her sitting in a room full of coders and fitting right in. She wears a silver headset with a built-in mic because she's busy owning all your bases when she isn't writing code for her latest game project.
Game developer Barbie comes with some tools of her trade: a laptop and a tablet with a picture of a game. The laptop features "real game code graphics." The product description reads, "Honored as a career of the year, young techies can play out the creative fun of this exciting profession."
Mattel has put some work into expanding the vision for its Barbie line recently, including introducing three new body types: tall, petite and curvy. For the unveiling of those dolls, Mattel President and COO Richard Dickson told Time, "Our brand represent female empowerment."
The coding Barbie joins a lineup of career-oriented dolls that include a ballerina, a gymnast, a film director and a pet vet. Combine game developer Barbie with some Star Trek Barbies (and an Orion slave girl Barbie) and you'll get quite a delightful geek-fest of dolls that can bond over a shared love of sci-fi and technology.
The International Game Developers Association released a workplace survey in 2014 that found that only 22 percent of the more than 2,200 participating developers were women. Though sometimes a subject of controversy, Barbie dolls can be influential toys for girls. The idea here is that you can dream of becoming a professional ballerina or a veterinarian, but you can also be one of the people who creates the games you love to play.