Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Education Books Programming

"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon 561

New submitter clcto writes Back in 2010, Computer Engineer Barbie was released. Now, with the attention brought to the Frozen themed programming game from Disney and Code.org, unwanted attention has been given to the surprisingly real book "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer". So much so, that Mattel has pulled the book from Amazon. The book shows Barbie attempting to write a computer game. However, instead of writing the code, she enlists two boys to write the code as she just does the design. She then proceeds to infect her computer and her sister's computer with a virus and must enlist the boys to fix that for her as well. In the end she takes all the credit, and proclaims "I guess I can be a computer engineer!" A blog post commenting on the book (as well as giving pictures of the book and its text) has been moved to Gizmodo due to high demand.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:26PM (#48426381)

    It's unix!!!11

    • Re:I know this! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:35PM (#48426491) Homepage Journal

      To be fair to that scene, it actually takes a bit of awareness to realize that fucked up 3d UI was a filesystem wrapper.

      Like, "Oooooooooooooooh, there's /usr/, I get it now" was a perfectly reasonable reaction.

      • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

        FSN was pretty fun to toy around with.

        And being able to visualize the filetree helped people who were less abstraction-oriented and more practically oriented to understand the layout of the filesystem, from my experience in school.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        To be fair to that scene, it actually takes a bit of awareness to realize that fucked up 3d UI was a filesystem wrapper.

        fsn (file system navigator) for IRIX was not universally known, but if the girl used IRIX at school, it is not unfeasible that she was familiar with it.

        (Most people knowing fsn would have used it to start a real shell, instead of continuing to use the slowest file system navigator in existence, just because it was pretty. But her role in the movie was to be a Barbie, so pretty counts.)

      • Re:I know this! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:57PM (#48428131)

        It is also worth pointing out that the role of the boy and girl were reversed in the movie. In Crichton's book the boy was the Unix nerd and the girl was just a tomboy with no leet skillz.

    • Your comment is more apropos than you probably realize, since the book cover shows Barbie's desk with a stuffed Linux penguin sitting on it. Maybe they thought including an easter egg for the real geek parents would help it sell?

  • From Experience (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:27PM (#48426393)

    This book sounds just like real life.

    • Re:From Experience (Score:5, Insightful)

      by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:40PM (#48426561)

      Which means she is a Project Manager.

      • Re:From Experience (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:55PM (#48426749)

        More like Barbie Business Analyst: "Hey guys, I don't know anything about business or technology, but if I invite 20 business people and programmers to a meeting, then I can type what they say into a horribly formatted Word document (that the programmers will fix for me later) and collect $125/hr".

        • "Hey guys, I don't know anything about computers or technology, but I just got a lead on $10 million in funding from the morons in Menlo Park, so can you get me something working by Friday for the dog and pony show?"

        • Re:From Experience (Score:4, Informative)

          by Deep Esophagus ( 686515 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @06:11PM (#48429911)

          If that's how you (and judging from your +5 Insightful rating, at least 5 others here) view the role of business analyst, my company must be using the term wrong. Where I work, BAs are an indispensable part of the design process; they don't get into that job until they know not only the product but the business needs of our users extremely well. A developer who changes a UI, report format, or so much as a calculation without first consulting with a BA doesn't last long. The BAs know every single one of the five bazillion federal regulations and industry standards so we developers don't have to worry our pretty little heads about it. We just write our code so it does all the number-crunchy things they tell us it needs to do.

          Accounting is hard. Let's go shopping!

      • Actually, that's what I was thinking. Sounds like they are telling Barbie that she can be a manager rather than just a code monkey.

        Wait....that's actually a GOOD thing, right?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          Try reading it. They are clearly saying that she is just a designer, so not even an actual engineer. She just does some drawings and then takes them to her male friends to build into a game.

          It really doesn't suggest girls can be managers, it suggests that the closest they will come to being engineers is picking up a crayon and then asking some men to do the actual engineering.

    • Actually it does, seemingly. During my scholarship that happened quite a few times, we and friends helping computer-desperate girl friends... but I wonder what happened to non-geeky boys... They likely had the same problems, but were probably too proud to call for help (and, maybe, needed less attention...)
    • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:07PM (#48426909)

      I found this to be highly offensive to computer engineers. The implication we're marketing...that other people do the real work... that we'd dare stick a USB key with an unknown history into our USB port...

      Actually that last one sets sex ed back about 30 years too.

      • Why not stick in an unidentified USB key? It's not as if we're using MS Windows, or we've got anything on the computer that's not backed up in case of disaster.

    • Re:From Experience (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Julia Cameron ( 616578 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:40PM (#48427937) Journal
      Tell that to Ada Lovelace.
  • LOL ... w00t? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:28PM (#48426403) Homepage

    Who does Mattel have in charge of Barbie these days?

    Because whoever it is, has stepped in it so many times it's not even funny.

    Are they being punked from inside? Or are people actually thinking this shit is a good idea?

    Absolutely mind boggling.

    • by Exitar ( 809068 )

      Probably the same guy in charge of the new Fantastic Four movie.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      They hired the marketing VP from RealDoll.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Southpaw018 ( 793465 ) *

      A cavalcade of white dudes, of course. http://corporate.mattel.com/ab... [mattel.com]

      • Re:LOL ... w00t? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Alrescha ( 50745 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:05PM (#48426899)

        "A cavalcade of white dudes, of course."

        Two wrongs don't make a right.

        A.

        • Re:LOL ... w00t? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Alrescha ( 50745 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:09PM (#48428275)

          Tragically, I am forced into the disgrace of responding to my own post: "Two wrongs don't make a right.".

          For the ironically-challenged, I found it somewhat funny/sad that in a thread nominally about stereotypes and the inappropriateness of judging people by their race, gender, et al, someone would refer to the wrongdoers specifically by their *race and gender*.

          A.

          (note to the angry responders: sorry, I have little time for the 'professionally offended', who assume the worst and then get all hot and bothered over their own error)

      • by alispguru ( 72689 ) <{moc.tsg} {ta} {enab}> on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:21PM (#48427047) Journal

        Jean McKenzie has been Executive Vice President of Mattel since September 2012. She was named President of American Girl Jan. 1, 2013. Prior to re-joining Mattel in 2011 as Senior Vice President-Marketing, she was President and CEO of Gateway Learning Corporation and Senior Vice President for The Walt Disney Company. From 1989-1998, Ms. McKenzie served in various executive positions at Mattel working on the Barbie brand, most recently as Executive Vice President and GM of Worldwide Barbie for Mattel.

        Not sure if this makes the screw-up better or worse...

        • by Minupla ( 62455 )

          Well since the publication date was 2010, I'm not sure we can blame Jean for this one.

          I'm very happy that my daughter gets angry and pissed off whenever anyone suggests something is a boy toy or a girl toy tho. (Drive thru at McD's is rough!)

          Min

      • omg they have a dick dickson, and he looks like a total dick.

    • Someone who should be fired, not for being misogynistic, but simply for being stupid enough to not understand what he/she was doing.

      I'd rather work somewhere where everybody is a misogynistic drooling pig than with people stupid enough to read that crap before sending it to print and not having the elementary intellectual capacity to think "when this shit hits the interwebz we'll be interred in so much crap we'll be able to host the World Shit Skiing Championship."

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        Someone who should be fired, not for being misogynistic, but simply for being stupid enough to not understand what he/she was doing.

        We cannot really accuse the woman who wrote this booklet of misogynism.
        Of being of the same, ehrm, intelligence level as Barbie, no doubt. But not misogynism.
        A little bit of sexism in how boys are portrayed, perhaps.

    • Re:LOL ... w00t? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:05PM (#48427569)

      Actually, I don't think they're punking anything.

      They are identifying empowering roles that could portray Barbie in a good light. Vetinarian, Doctor, Computer Engineer, etc. All the roles which are in demand, desirable, and have decent appeal to some set of the population. (I've been asked so many times how someone "gets" into my field, but as soon as you start off with the truth, that it is a lot of work, they drift away).

      Then, they send these roles to their team of artists and storywriters who must do the minimal amount of research to put together the template driven "Barbie storyline". This typically means no understanding of the role she's in, strong emphasis on tieing in other characters, good dialog, a gatitous fun scene, and Barbie getting recogonized for her actions.

      In the computer engineer role, obviously they misunderstood the role so badly that she gets recogonized for something they thought was admirable, when in reality (again you must learn the field to know) she's getting recogonized favorably for creating problems. To the educated eye, she's incompentent and the entire field would be better off without computer engineers of her skill.

      90% of the time they don't botch the template-filling story creation this badly, but the heavy reliance of story patterns typically lead to Barbie stories that give you the impression it's all a big dress-up game. Barbie hardly does anything different, no matter what role she's portraying. I should know, I have a six year old daughter. 90% of the stories are innane, but at least the friends and "support networking" that she does has a positive message that is sometimes missed in other cartoons.

  • So close, so far (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@worl[ ]net ['d3.' in gap]> on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:28PM (#48426405) Homepage

    We have come so far since feminism began, but then stuff like this still happens... How could anyone, in 2014, have thought this was acceptable?

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:32PM (#48426449) Journal

      I guarantee you, by the time the day is through, 2/3s of the posts here will say something along the lines of "What's the problem with the book? It's just like real life!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Depressingly I think you might be right. I used to think it was people not being aware rather than being actual misogynists, but if you look at the posts on any equality in work story or any GamerGate related story at least half of them will be people trying to sabotage any progress by denying the problem or bogging everyone down in semantics.

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        Or just the first part: "What's the problem with this book?"

        The blog post reads an awful lot of shit into some pretty banal dialogue. Try reading just the images taken from the book and skip the inflammatory commentary that the blog adds: Barbie is the lead designer on a game that she's making with two other students (teamwork!). When something goes wrong with her computer, the three of them work on it together in order to solve the problem faster (cooperation!). The three members of her team are herself,
        • by hawk ( 1151 )

          I'm certainly not going to go read a Barbie book (I've had enough after four daughters!).

          But it's easy to make a tilted description to feed a story like this.

          I once saw a listing for the Wizard of Oz as something to the effect of "A white girl goes to a foreign land, kills the first person she meets, and sets off to kill again." . . .

          hawk

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:02PM (#48426859)

        It's already most of the posts here, and it's only been an hour.

        Godwin Feminist Corollary: As an online discussion about sexism continues, the probability of a woman who speaks out being called a feminazi approaches one.

        Moff's Law: As comments continue in a discussion of pop culture in relation to feminism, the probability of someone saying 'why do you have to analyze it? it's just a movie/cartoon/book!' approaches one.

        And perhaps the best one, Lewis's Law: Comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.

      • I guarantee you, by the time the day is through, 2/3s of the posts here will say something along the lines of "What's the problem with the book? It's just like real life!"

        Well, if you replaced Barbie with Zuckerberg...

    • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:32PM (#48426451) Homepage

      Barbie is a manager. Coding is for suckers.

      Perspective.

      • That is true, the closest thing I have to a manager at my current job (the CEO of the company) can't code worth shit and gets viruses (virii?) all the damn time.
        • by creimer ( 824291 )
          I worked for a American company that was bought out by a French competitor when the "I Love You" virus [wikipedia.org] broke out. All the American workers got multiple emails from the French management team saying that they loved us. That didn't kill the mail server. The Symantec AV scanner on the mail server sent out an email notification whenever a virus-infected got removed. That killed the mail server. The French management team never understood why we hated them.
      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:37PM (#48426523) Homepage

        I know people with young daughters (like, under 5).

        Dora tells little girls they can do anything they want to, and grow up to do cool things. Barbie teaches women to be stereotypes, dumb blondes, and how to fake your way through life.

        So, for birthday gifts, we give chemistry lab play sets, National Geographic books on space and dinosaurs, and actual educational stuff.

        It's fun to see a four year old excited about a book on space.

        If Barbie can't be a good role model after 50 years or so, just don't buy it.

        There's so many good toys out there for kids that unless the child is asking for Barbie, you can skip it altogether.

        • All of my favorite toys growing up were some kind of educational toy, with the notable exception of video game systems. The only real reason to get a kid a cheap piece of plastic or noisemaker is if you hate fun.

          I think you were making the right choice, even if Barbie was a more realistic doll that didn't have it's whole... history.

        • So, for birthday gifts, we give chemistry lab play sets, National Geographic books on space and dinosaurs, and actual educational stuff.

          Where do you find actual chemistry sets with actual chemicals in them that can actually make interesting things? I have been trying to find something like I had as a kid for 10 years - with no luck. 1/2 the time the "Chemistry" sets don't actually have any chemicals in them, the other 1/2 they are all salts, sugars, and simple things that you can't make turn colors and explode (What is the fun of chemistry without a few explosions and fire?)

          • https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com] I think that they have some left.
          • Where do you find actual chemistry sets with actual chemicals in them that can actually make interesting things?

            This wasn't the classic chemistry set with a bunch of things in it.

            This was a really cool one by a company I don't remember for younger kids. It came with safety glasses, plastic beakers and measuring cups and a few things for mixing and measuring ... and a cool little book which gave them some really basic chemistry (like baking soda and vinegar volcanoes) which could be done at home by young k

          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            Where do you find actual chemistry sets with actual chemicals in them that can actually make interesting things?

            At junk/antique stores. Those made in the 1960s and earlier, generally haven't been crippled for safety.

            The set I had came with both lead strips, acids and a burner.

          • Where do you find actual chemistry sets with actual chemicals in them that can actually make interesting things? I have been trying to find something like I had as a kid for 10 years - with no luck. ...

            Thames and Kosmos [thamesandkosmos.com]. Their Chem 5000 set is the real deal, at least equal to, and probably better than, the ChemCraft sets of yore that I loved as a kid.

            About five years ago I was casting about for a chemistry set for my daughter, and heard about Thames and Kosmos. Unfortunately at that particular moment they were retooling their offerings, and none were available - but they are back on the market, better than ever.

        • by mi ( 197448 )

          I have a daughter like that myself.

          Barbie teaches women to be stereotypes, dumb blondes, and how to fake your way through life.

          She does not "teach" anybody to be like that — she just shows, such people exist. From what few Barbie-books I've seen (we seem to prefer the Berenstain Bears here, and Dora the Explorer is as boring as most government-sponsored things tend to be), I can not conclude, the books portray the character as the (or even a) role-model. In other words, whatever she is doing is not me

      • Sounds more like Barbie: I can be a Manager. Looks like Barbie finally managed to break the glass ceiling. Yay equality?
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Yeah, that's exactly how it's written. A pillow fighting manager who runs to her male friends when any actual work needs doing. As portrayed she can draw, and that's about it.

        Also, some people like coding. Money isn't everything.

    • We have come so far since feminism began, but then stuff like this still happens... How could anyone, in 2014, have thought this was acceptable?

      I would imagine at least half of slashdot's readers, to judge from the general level of misogyny displayed here.

      • by sinij ( 911942 )
        While you are entitled to your own self-loathing, but please count me out of your bogus statistics.
        • by praxis ( 19962 )

          While you are entitled to your own self-loathing, but please count me out of your bogus statistics.

          He did. He said half. He never said which half belong to. You can claim his 50% is wrong, but it's clearly a SWAG and he stated so. I don't understand how you can be offended here. If someone told me 50% of men are jerks to women, I'm not going to be offended unless they said 50% of men are jerks to women and I am a man so I must be a jerk to women, but no such claim was made here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I don't know. It sounds hilarious to me. I don't understand how anyone can take the book seriously.

      In fact, this is a valuable learning tool for your child. It's a great introduction to satire, context, and critical thinking. Barbie is a complete and total twatwaddle bimbo; she's an idiot, probably a rich idiot (we never hear about that), who apparently gets to do whatever the fuck she wants. Obviously, if you took a rich valley girl and got the idea in her head to be a computer engineer, THIS IS WHAT

      • Re:So close, so far (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:00PM (#48426823) Journal

        Yea, honestly the lesson I would want a child to take away from this book is that life isn't fair. Barbie is a bimbo she hasn't got to neurons to rub together but she is pretty and charismatic, she will be able find other people like boys in this book to sponge off and carry her anywhere she wants to go.

        This isn't a gender thing either. Pretty boys gave the same advantage although it might show up a little later in life. I have worked lots of places and seen one male manager who is near totally incompetent leading a vastly less successful and productive team than his counter part and their team get selected for promotion to some role like director or CIO/CTO over and over again. Why because that guy was taller and better looking and maybe if he possessed any skills at all its knowing how to tell others what they want to hear.

        People need to understand that they may come up against the Barbies and Kens out there and depending on the situation it might not be a fair fight. They might need to recognize they are Barbie or Ken and learn to lever that too.

    • Probably the same people that think the most appropriate toy, for GIRLS, is a large-breasted supermodel. In retrospect, they should have marketed Barbie as a toy for 12-year old boys to play with and sold "realistic anatomy" kits before the availability of the internet in every American household.

    • by nmb3000 ( 741169 )

      We have come so far since feminism began, but then stuff like this still happens... How could anyone, in 2014, have thought this was acceptable?

      I can't help but feel like this whole thing is getting horribly blown out of proportion, more than likely due to a SJW invasion (does it have some absurd hash tag yet?)

      I haven't read the book, but based on TFA:

      • It looks like they decided to put Barbie in a design position with other people doing the actual computer programming. This is not unusual in the real world.
      • The roles of designers and developers are in some many polar opposites. Is it that hard to believe that the female brain might often be better
      • by nmb3000 ( 741169 )

        Holy hell, Slashdot.

        #commentlisting li {
            list-style: none outside none;
            margin: 0 0;
        }

        Well that's just beautiful. Take the effort to add bullets and instead get a massive wall of text. Thanks.

        • by jandrese ( 485 )
          Organized lists are oldschool man. Get with the times! Now it's all rounded corner boxes with drop shadows!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:33PM (#48426465)

    In the final chapter, Barbie sleeps with several game reviewers to make sure her game gets good reviews and publicity on various gaming websites.

  • Well, to be fair... (Score:4, Informative)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:34PM (#48426481) Journal
    This Barbie actually does sound like some computer "engineers" I've known.
  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @12:35PM (#48426493) Homepage
    http://www.themarysue.com/barb... [themarysue.com] is much better done. If only that had been the actual book!
    • by Jaime2 ( 824950 )
      So, she replaced one set of unfortunate characters that shouldn't be used as role models with another set of unfortunate characters that shouldn't be used as role models. The new book's subtitle looks like it should read "Don't become a computer engineer because you'll have to put up with this crap for the rest of your life".
  • Is that American Barbie outsourced the job to Indian Barbie (http://www.amazon.com/Barbie-P8228-INDIAN-BARBIE/dp/B002PEQKHG [slashdot.org]) at a quarter of the pay and pocketed the rest as profit.

    That's the American way.

    • (yeah I screwed up the link but fuck Slashdot's antiquarian no-editing of messages policy. Jesus, it's almost 2015.)

  • Is there an author attributed?

  • with Ken, Preventer of IT Services, then it would be pretty realistic and quite gender-unspecific.

  • I see male software engineers infect their own laptops with viruses and malware and then have to enlist the support of the help desk department to clean it off for them. I don't see how this point is relevant to the ability to write code. Unless, I suppose, if your job is to write malware and viruses.
    • The difference is, most of the coders kind of know how to approach virus removal - it's just a lot easier to ask Help Desk to do it since they've probably got a machine dedicated to it (we called ours "Benchy the Nurse Box" - it had multiple malware removal programs on it and the only other thing it did besides nuke viruses was play the radio.)

      Although the message about not sharing USBs between sick machines is a good one in this book. MANY professionals haven't figured that one out yet.
  • Barbie Remix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:02PM (#48426861)
    http://caseyfiesler.com/2014/1... [caseyfiesler.com]

    And the problem isn’t even that Barbie isn’t a “real” computer scientist because she isn’t coding. (I am one of those mostly-non-coding computer scientists myself, though now I’m tempted to make a game about robot puppies shooting lasers anyway.) The problem is the assumption that she is a designer, not a coder, and the coders are boys. (There are also problems with nonsense explanations for computer viruses, taking credit for other people’s work, and inexplicable pillow fights.) I happen to study remix, so one of my first thoughts upon seeing this was: someone is obviously going to remix this. I figured, why wait? I also have at my disposal my roommate Miranda Parker, a student of Mark Guzdial, who studies computing education and broadening participation in STEM. So with her input, I rewrote the book with a slightly different spin. (I also kept her as a “computer engineer” even though she’s really more of a computer scientist, software developer, etc.) I hope you like this new narrative better, too!

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:28PM (#48427137) Homepage

    I saw this yesterday and tried, so hard, to be the skeptic poking holes in a feminist's overreaction -- and failed. This thing is just awful. The best I could come up with was, "Well, there are valuable people on software development teams who do design. I value them immensely, because I can't do it."

    Well, sure, and maybe they should also put out a book titled, "I can be a game designer." But that's not the title, and (I can tell you from personal experience) women make fine software engineers. Some great, some awful, most somewhere in between -- just like guys. If they want to make a book with a title about Barbie being a software engineer, they should just tell that story.

  • by coolmoose25 ( 1057210 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:29PM (#48427149)
    In my house, computer engineer Barbie would have ended up just like all the other Barbies in the house... naked, legless, armless, and often headless in the bathtub. We affectionately called them all "Torso Barbie"

Multics is security spelled sideways.

Working...