You must be REALLY desperate!

April 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm 5 comments

“You must be really desperate!” is the underlying message in today’s Wall Street Journal.  “You want women so badly in computing, you enlisted Barbie?!?”

The voting was open to anyone, and nobody could vote more than once. But by the end of the first week, a growing flood of adult votes for computer engineer Barbie trumped the popular choice. Female computer engineers who learned about the election launched a viral campaign on the Internet to get out the vote and ensure Barbie would join their ranks.

“Please help us in getting Barbie to get her Geek on!” came the appeal from the blog

As Mattel puts it: Computer engineer Barbie “won the popular vote” and anchorwoman won the girls’ vote.

Why grown women felt so strongly about having themselves represented by a doll—especially one that feminists have always loathed—speaks volumes both about the power of the iconic Barbie doll and the current state of women who work in computer and information sciences. Their ranks have declined in the past two decades. In 2008, women received only 18% of computer science degrees, down from 37% in 1985, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

via Barbie, Who Has Flitted From Profession to Profession, This Year Let the Voters Decide –

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ian Bogost  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    They sort of have a point, don’t they?

  • 2. beki70  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I read it the same way, I almost wrote about that myself. I don’t think adding a sense of desperation onto the women who are in the Computer Sciences and Engineering helps, at all.

    So, in a way what I wrote was precisely because I don’t think we are a totally desperate group. I think we’re discouraged yes, and wish for a different future, …

    But we also enjoy each other, we mobilize, we self-organize…

  • 3. Ajai Karthikeyan  |  April 10, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Must note that Tech isn’t doing worse. 12.51% women in the undergraduate programs at the CoC.

    Also, anyone who sees the picture of computer science barbie can easily note that the design of the doll is breaking the stereotype of the typical woman in Computing. When was the last time you bumped into someone with a pink computer in the CoC. Actually, most of the women in the college actually dislike pink from personal experience.

  • 4. Susan L. Gerhart  |  April 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Unfortunately, the public is not receiving a clear message about the career paths of “computer engineers”. Those who know of, and teach, courses required for an undergrad or grad degree in Computer engineering have one interpretation but that job and education profile is not transferred by a doll with a title. Search for “tech support Barbie” and find very different images of the job description, including pulling cables and repair, even heard on BBC. Not to disparage the IT support job category, but “tech support Barbie doesn’t feed more women into the pipeline, right? Where would a parent go to find a profile of “computer engineers” to follow up the doll imagery? NAE?

  • 5. Seth  |  April 13, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    They said 500,000 votes where for computer Science Barbie. I know this is a lie because I had voted about 2 million times in one weekend.


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