Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm Computer Tech Barbie!

Mattel,Geek Barbie,Style Geek,Geek Out,Geeky Style,Computer Tech,Techno Barbie,Barbie Doll There is no way I can call myself the Style Geek without covering this little bit of news. I would like to think I was a well-oriented child - I loved my microscope as much as my Barbie collection. But Barbie won over as I grew older, slowly feeding my love of clothes and style. Until recently, I wasn't sure I even wanted to go back to college because I wasn't sure I could stick to any (acceptable) profession. After a year of soul searching and starting this blog, I decided on website design and computer programming. Code scared me at first but now there's something comforting about it, like Burberry on a rainy day.

So this is where it gets funny. Barbie's resume could put all of us to shame - police officer, pilot, doctor, teacher, President in 2000 - over 120 careers in the past 5i years. This year Mattel decided to add her 125th profession to the long list of careers, but there was a twist: Barbie fans could vote for the next Barbie Career. The winning profession was announced at last Friday's New York Toy Fair: Computer Engineer! This gave me a warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment as a geeky girl with a love of fashion. And then I went to the website to see her... Mattel,Geek Barbie,Style Geek,Geek Out,Geeky Style,Computer Tech,Techno Barbie,Barbie Doll

Something about Computer Engineer Barbie just doesn't communicate Computer Engineer. I am by no means saying computer engineers are not stylish - they make enough money to afford big fashion brands; I met one with Carrie Bradshaw's show fetish and the pocket to fund it. But this Barbie seems more like the hot girl at the Technogeek Convention that is there to make the new merchandise look good. She's cute, she's perky, she's well-polished and knowledgeable but she didn't build the damn touchscreen netbook with camera and Flash capabilities unlike the iTampon. She will, however, giggle fakely and roll her eyes when you make that joke.

But that's lumping all cute, techie girls into one vacuous stereotype. And I'd like to be included in those. Apparently, they did work with the Society of Women Engineers on her clothing and accessories, but I wonder if "a binary shirt under a casual jacket" was misinterpreted somewhere.

Another thing that peeved me was how there were TWO winning careers. The masses convened and the Popular Vote was Computer Engineer. That should have been it, right? But it seems that this job wasn't girly enough or pink enough or Barbie enough for Barbie and there was a second vote being taken. News Anchor Barbie is dressed in head-to-toe pink with a few black accents that remind me of a Chanel suit on bubblegum crack. Her shoes are to die for, though, and in the world of Barbie, that's what matters.

The question stands, can you be a geek and be fashionable? Can you look smart and stylish at the same time? Mattel tried. I want to believe that they had the best intentions in mind because the campaign was called "I Can Be" and will be influencing a new generation of girls worldwide. I know what it's like to be a geek in the fashion world - your outfit is never up to par. I know what it's like to be cute and fashionable in the geek world - you lose respect and IQ points for every ruffle and bow. When I found out Barbie was gonna be a Computer Engineer, it gave me hope that the two worlds could mesh and Barbie would be the torch-bearer... but it seems I'll have to take my torch somewhere else.

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