The social media sphere is lighting up about “I can be a computer engineer” book from the Barbie franchise, so here’s my two cents.
The title of the book Barbie “I can be a computer engineer!” is a misnomer, as the story progresses, we see that Barbie is merely brainstorming ideas for a game, she gets a computer virus, and has to call her male friends to fix the issue.
The quote that sums up the book: “It will go faster if Brian and I help,” offers Steven.
At first, I thought, “Oh, this must be a hoax.” But no, the listing on amazon looks legit. The book was published last year by an author that works with random house.
For writers, there is a dilemma of which “other” group to choose to promote. You can promote progressive gender ideals, but race will be put to the side in order for the product to be commercially viable on a mass scale. Here, we see a great mixed representation of different races, but gender takes the backseat and put into the ultra-traditional binary idea. Maybe in another ten years we’ll have mass distributed media that shows characters to be intelligent, valuable, and have agency no matter color or sex; even then, we’ll see other identity characteristics slammed into the backseat (sexual orientation, non-gendered folk, etc.)
Overall, it is a rather deplorable example of “female empowerment.”