Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer Parodies
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Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer Parodies are a series of exploitable images based on original illustrations from Mattel's children's book Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer that portray the female protagonist as a technological expert who offers troubleshooting advices to her male peers. The parodies first emerged online in November 2014 shortly after the book came under criticism from the blogosphere for perpetuating the sexist stereotype of women as the less tech-savvy gender.
On November 17th, 2014, American author and blogger Pamie Ribon ran a blog post titled “Barbie Fucks It Up Again,” in which she asserted that Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer, a children's book written by Susan Marenco and published in 2013 as a companion to Mattel's "Computer Engineer Barbie" doll introduced in 2010, actually promotes gender stereotypes about women and technology.
In the story, Barbie sets out to develop a game for her computer class project, but after accidentally infecting her computer with a virus, she enlists the assistance of two boys to fix her computer and code the video game that she had envisioned. At the end, she still takes credit for developing the game and says "I guess I can be a computer engineer!"
On November 18th, the article was syndicated on Gizmodo. On November 19th, programmer Kathleen Tuite launched the "Feminist Hacker Barbie" web application, which allows users to make their own parody versions of the Barbie book (shown below). That day, several news sites published articles about the backlash and parodies of the book, including The Daily What, BuzzFeed, Tech Crunch, The Verge and The Daily Dot. Within 24 hours, the hashtag #feministhackerbarbie had been tweeted over 2,900 times according to the Twitter analytics site Topsy.
On November 19th, 2014, the official Barbie Facebook page posted an apology for the children's book:
"The Barbie I Can Be A Computer Engineer book was published in 2010. Since that time we have reworked our Barbie books. The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story doesn’t reflect the Brand’s vision for what Barbie stands for. We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologize that this book didn’t reflect that belief. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girl's imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character."
On the next day, Mattel removed the book from Amazon.
 Pamie – Barbie Fucks It Up Again
 Super Fire Truck – Kathleen Tuite
 The Daily What – Rewrite of the Day
 Amazon – Computer Engineer Barbie
 Google Cache – "Amazon page for I Can Be a Computer Engineer
 Topsy – #feministhackerbarbie
 Twitter – #feministhackerbarbie
 BuzzFeed – Sexist Barbie is Sexist
 Herokuapp – Feminist Hacker Barbie
 The Verge – The internet fixes Barbie
 The Daily Dot – Geek girls reject sexist Barbie books message
 Tech Crunch – Sexist Barbie Book
 Gizmodo – Barbie Fucks it Up Again
Nov 20, 2014 at 04:40PM EST
Nov 20, 2014 at 04:50PM EST
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