If you are feeling confused about a possible career, spare a thought for Barbie. She’s had over 200 so far, and is just about to become a Robotics Engineer.
For 59 years, Mattel’s fashion doll Barbie has not just captured the fashion dreams of millions of girls globally but for some, their aspirations too.
Fifty years ago Barbie was an astronaut, even before the first man landed on the moon. In the '70s she was an Olympic skier, became a rock star in the '80s then progressively joined most branches of the armed forces, played professional sports, became a business executive and even a rap star.
After having stint as a reality TV star then running for US president (sound familiar?), Barbie embraced STEM.
STEM Barbie takes on science
Yes, STEM Barbie was wading into the sciences and in no time we saw Barbie as a computer programmer, baby doctor, scientist, paleontologist and even a video game developer.
Robotics Engineer Barbie comes complete with safety glasses, fly clothes, a laptop and to complete the look, a little robot accessory. She comes in four skin tones too, surely increasing relatable-ness.
Making Robotics Engineer Barbie even more on point is the workbook and computer programme on basic coding concepts that is linked to the purchase. The aim is to get young Barbie fans cutting code early, and in the process help make STEM more understandable and enticing to young girls.
Barbie can code this time
The coding workbook is a leap forward from Barbie’s last computer science involvement. Barbie’s 2010 picture book "I Can Be a Computer Engineer" showed her unable to code and needing boys to help remove a virus from her computer. That’s a fail for Barbie and for gender equality, and the internet certainly let Mattel know they had blown it.
The makers say they are all about inspiring young girls into STEM careers where they are chronically under-represented. Their thinking is the almost 100 million Barbies sold every year might actually steer her core target of 3 – 6 year olds into STEM programmes.
Then again, they might just be trying (very hard) to sell plastic dolls.