• Game Developer Barbie is finally getting it right (Twitter)Source: Twitter
Six years ago the world was introduced to Computer Engineer Barbie with her bright pink laptop and uncanny ability to download viruses. How things have changed.
Bianca Soldani

17 Jun 2016 - 11:46 AM  UPDATED 17 Jun 2016 - 11:49 AM

Barbie has come a long way from the days she worked as a cheerleader and dressed up as a princess.

The doll’s creators at Mattel have this week released a Game Developer Barbie who’s breaking down gender stereotypes and teaching young girls they definitely have a place in the male dominated industry.

She has long red hair with a coloured streak at the front, wears thick-rimmed glasses and doesn’t go anywhere without her laptop, tablet and headphones. And to the delight of many, her tech isn't pastel pink and the code that appears on her screen isn’t simply zeros and ones but Javascript programming language.

Interestingly, the very realistic looking doll isn't Mattel's first foray into game programming, with 2010's Computer Engineer Barbie painting a very different picture. 

Beside matching her glasses to her laptop, the previous model was released alongside a book titled “Barbie: I can be a computer engineer”, that has courted plenty of controversy .

The storyline involved a completely incompetent Barbie only being able to design a game and needing the help of her male counterparts Brian and Steve to actually build the program.

She then goes on to crash her own laptop and inadvertently infects her sister’s with a virus, before ignoring her female tech teacher's advice on how to fix it and calling on the boys to get her back online.

Outrage naturally ensued when a blogger launched a scathing attack on the book in 2014, after which Mattel was forced to apologise and pull it from shelves.

In a statement posted to their Facebook page the company wrote, “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 girls' imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character."

Women remain underrepresented in computing careers and release of the newer improved doll has so far received praise online. She comes after Mattel have expanded their range to feature more skin tones and body types to better reflect the many faces of women around the world.

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