Mattel has apologised for a book in which it is implied that Barbie needs help from a man to code a game.
The controversy derived from a conversation in the book entitled ‘Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer” that reads:
“Your robot puppy is so sweet,” says Skipper. “Can I play your game?”
“I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game.”
After sparking outrage from consumers across social media channels and website reviews, Mattel has pulled the book from sale and said it does not reflect its vision for what Barbie stands for.
“The Barbie I Can Be A Computer Engineer book was published in 2010,” read a statement.
“Since that time we have reworked our Barbie books. 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 apologise 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.”
In response, an unofficial Feminist Hacker Barbie website has been set up that enables users to rewrite the book to tell a different story where Barbie can “be the competent, independent, bad-ass engineer that she was to be”.