Apparently Mattel's products are just so damn bendy that they can't stop putting their foot in their mouth, or at least it seems that way when you take a look at the almost laughably offensive and sexist Barbie book, I Can Be an Engineer. The title sounds so modern and confidence-boosting—could it finally be just the right kind of product we need on the market to inspire young girls to pursue their interests in S.T.E.M. fields?? Not so fast. When you actually open it up and read the story, it looks more like sabotage than encouragement.
I know what you're thinking: How could they screw up something that basic? Hasn't Mattel learned anything after all of the many sexist holes they have accidentally dug with Barbie products over the years?
Apparently not. I Can Be an Engineer is a misleading title to a book where poor, dim-witted Barbie uses a flash drive to do some vague engineer-y things (wait, should we do any actual research on this career field? Nahhh, just put in some more pink, it'll be fine), and then ends up loading a virus and deleting all of Skipper's music and homework from the computer. No, wait, don't cry yet, a pillow fight fixed EVERYTHING.
It only gets worse from there:
"Your robot puppy is so sweet," says Skipper. "Can I play your game?"
"I'm only creating the design ideas," says Barbie, laughing. "I'll need Steve and Brian's help to turn it into a real game!"
Wait, has the job description for "engineer" shifted that drastically since the last time I was a member of planet earth? Also, WOW—Barbie apparently needs not one, but TWO men to bail her out to do the job she is supposedly qualified for? Side note: I didn't know we brought Skipper back which is exciting. But you know, not enough to take the sting off this offensively sexist children's storybook that is conditioning little girls who are barely just learning to read that they're not fit for the "real" work of engineering.
To their credit, Mattel pulled the book from Amazon and released an apology on its Facebook page:
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.
It's 2014, Mattel. Forget about moving forward, how did this even happen in the first place?
Images: Getty Images; Giphy