UPDATE: The SIGCSE/CSTA communities have rallied and developed some great responses to the original book, a few highlighted here:
- Feminist Hacker Barbie where you can rewrite the book
- An example remixed by Casey Fiesler
- An article at Cosmo
- The original post by Pamela Ribon
There is a new book about Barbie and computer engineering, I think Mattel needs to get some feedback, it portrays a young girl only able to design a computer game and needing boys to implement. Marie desJardins contacted the author directly and shared the reply to SIGCSE, copied below:
Thank you for your email. I am grateful that you have pointed this out to me. When I write Barbie stories, I always try to write them from a feminist perspective. The story of "Barbie Computer Engineer" was an assignment I got that had to be based on an existing Italian Barbie magazine story. My assignment was to rewrite the story for a book format. I never saw a final copy (I am just a lowly freelance writer, they don't send me copies). I will order a copy and see what exactly I wrote that is upsetting people. While I take responsibility for what I wrote, you should be aware that I was obliged to follow the existing story and I do not know how Mattel changed the story after I wrote it.
I welcome the twitter controversy and I should have perhaps seen this and pushed with the editors to make the story better in terms of the way it portrays woman. I think Mattel should be more responsible towards the young girls affected by their content and I should too. I consider myself a feminist and have worked for many feminist causes so I was surprised by your email. Sometimes as a freelance writer you get lazy and just follow orders and forget to think about the young people you are affecting. Thank you for reminding me.
all the best,
I suppose it is a sincere response, but the damage is still there -- onto contacting Mattel directly? Stay tuned!