Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

Barbie can’t be a computer engineer… can she?

No longer is Barbie just a disproportionate plastic doll – she’s a computer engineer! Well, sort of….

The widely-discussed book “Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer” has made quite a wave in the feminist and tech-o-spheres, as its portrayal of the doll as the “creative soul yet incompetent programmer” has enough sociopolitical ammo in it to arouse viral upheaval.

Barbie is portrayed as a girl who accidentally downloads a virus onto her computer, but admits that she needs the help of her male friends to fix it. Bring in the feminist organizations – we need a clean up on the toy aisle, particularly Barbie’s plastic laptop kit. Later, she explains that she is designing a video game (rad!), but when her gal pals ask to play it, she admits that she will need her guy friend’s help to turn it into a real game (bad!). But Barb, we thought you were the computer engineer?

If I were a young reader, I would probably not understand what everyone is upset about. Barbie would not have seemed incompetent to me, because she frequently seeks out magic and other-worldly help in all of her plot lines – the girl doesn’t do much for herself, because if she could, what would be the point of having other characters and wild mystical possibilities involved? But as someone who is in tune to the qualms of the modern STEM woman, I understand the issue of Barbie not being able to code the video game herself – I mean, she is claiming to be an engineer, yet she puts the workload on someone else and does little tech work herself. While having imagination is critical to any project, it is not sufficient to supply ideas and call yourself the chief creator or “engineer” of a game. I worry more about the fraud and ethical implications Barbie is pushing in the story than the gender stereotypes that one could assume are propelled at our youth.

According to Time.com, Mattel apologized for how Barbie is portrayed in this story, which came out in 2010, yet only just now was brought to the attention of the internet. Time notes that Barbie has been “to space and business school,” and is a competent woman.

Surely if Barbie can do all that, she can be a computer engineer – I hope.

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Photo: theverge.com



Four for you, ‘Seventeen’ magazine!

Image courtesy of seventeen.com.

Image courtesy of seventeen.com.

I read Seventeen magazine quite religiously and unabashedly. As an avid reader, I have noticed two things about the magazine: one, each issue recycles hair and makeup ideas, which I easily glaze over (I’m a bigger fan of the Health and Life sections). Two, the magazine does something that really impresses me: it tries to improve itself.

Seventeen seems to strive to receive input from their readership. They want to address the unedited comments and answer the big questions. One issue dealt with a question they received about Photoshop. When readers accused Seventeen of Photoshopping models and altering photos, Seventeen took the time to respond to the complaint and maintain their reputation as an earnest and reputable magazine. Yes, the at times strange fashion trends and Love section can be a bit trivial, but I can excuse these sections when I hear that the magazine tries to improve itself as a whole, all the time. They even produced a DIY issue, since not everyone can afford to buy new clothes every season.

miley-cyrus-seventeen-magazine-may-2014-coverAll of these improvements and comments are great. But what encouraged me to speak out on behalf of Seventeen was an article they published in their newly released May issue. Instead of encouraging girls to go out and recklessly “soak in some sun” this summer, the magazine set up a calendar full of ways to stay sun safe the month of May. Cleverly, they even requested that readers Instagram photos of themselves carrying out these activities, whether they are hanging out under an umbrella or buying self-tanner.

Seventeen knows that readers do want to look tan during the summer, as many readers may feel pressured into looking tan among their peers. While I do not believe fake tans are necessary, plenty of girls do. I am just so happy to see a magazine advocate for feeling beautiful safely.

As someone who has had many family members be directly affected by skin cancer, reading this story was very uplifting. I hope other magazines for young women, even young men, continue this trend and make staying sun safe “in” for a long time.

Clip from "Mean Girls"

Source: http://weheartit.com/entry/group/17308827