The exciting news broke this week that Barbie’s new career is “Computer Engineer Barbie“. This is super exciting to me because like many girls of my generation, I was a Barbie fanatic. Ever the rebel I would make clothes for my girls and give them little pixie hair cuts and even would draw glasses on them. Though I was a feminist, I never subscribed to the notion that Barbie’s give girls poor self-esteem. Perhaps because I believed that they are catalysts to imagination and the problems arise when children are not encouraged to be creative or are not given other examples of women to pull from.
My mother gave me incredible female role models, herself included. My mother was in the advertising industry and while other kids in my suburban classroom had mothers who stayed home and baked cup-cakes and crafted and such, my mom was putting on her Aigner high heels and matching brief case and going to the office. Mom exposed me to great women by hanging works from Frieda Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe in the house. She encouraged my exploration of the arts, religion, music (except when i went through my riot grrrl phase with the screeching and shouting of profanities). Even as a young girl my mother always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be and let me know if I needed a ride to the top of the world, I could count on her to help me get there!
I started this post to analyze the implications of Barbie’s new career and look at the crowd sourced nature of the process. And like many of my fellow women bloggers I am excited and nervous all at the same time. But as I reflect on the message this brings it makes me more appreciative that I didn’t need a Barbie to support me as a developing girl-I needed a community. So my message, rather than one of techy goodness, is one of community and YOUR responsibility to nurture young people in your life. What young girl or boy could you encourage today? Who could you inspire? Our greatest blessing in life is the ability to leave a legacy of progress and possibility by influencing the next generation.
So in the spirit of Barbie and all that is possible in the world, I encourage you whether you’re a computer engineer or a waitress to spread a bit of inspiration today and throw out an “atta boy” wherever you can!