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"Controversy-Sells" Barbie!

HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 17, 2014



"Controversy-Sells" Barbie!
Copyright

Mattel, Inc. believes “girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits.” Problem is, Computer-Engineer Barbie is so dumb (“How dumb is she?!)…she’s so dumb that she doesn’t know how to reboot her computer, naively infects several computers with a virus, and cannot effectively function without the help of male computer experts. Meet Dumb-As-A-Stump Barbie, who makes female computer engineers and consumer activists mighty angry.

The controversy began quietly, with the 2010 release of a 2-books-in-1 publication of “Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer” on one side and “Barbie: I Can Be an Actress” on the flip side. Sold by major retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the book was panned by critics and modern mothers alike. Nevertheless, she is Barbie, you know: the book continued to sell and was sold and criticized through 2013.

Then the book fell into the hands of a real, live, very vocal female computer engineer in late November 2014, at which point the publication was skewered on the web sites “Pammie” and “Consumerist.” The controversy went as viral as the Asian flu.

Why pick on our beloved Barbie? Well, the book shows Barbie starting the day with breakfast and not quite creating a game on her computer: “I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!” It may be early in the day but Barbie is nonetheless fashionably dressed, complete with a large, pink, heart-shaped flash drive dangling from her neck. Barbie tries to e-mail her designs to Steven but the screen starts blinking and Barbie is downright flummoxed! NOW what should she do?! She and Skipper struggle together to reboot the computer, finally succeeding. But wait: Barbie’s computer is infected with a virus, which she inanely transfers to Skipper’s computer via flash drive, thereby erasing Skipper’s music files and homework assignment. Skipper playfully hits Barbie with a pillow. Steven and Brian aren’t around to see a “Wet T-shirt” contest, so what’s the point? Skipper just playfully hits Barbie with a pillow instead. Later, Steven and Brian fix everything and complete the game’s creation. Whew! In class, Barbie morphs into everyone’s boss and takes full credit for someone else’s work by patting herself on the back when she receives extra credit for the great game she’s created.

As you can imagine, the book and Mattel were excoriated. Nevertheless, as of November 30, 2014, the book is still on sale by some major retailers, including Amazon. The book currently sells on Amazon for $95.98 used and $99.99 new. Mind you, this is juxtaposed with other “I Can Be a…” Barbie books selling for about $4/each. Clearly, we should stay tuned for Mattel’s new Barbie version: “Controversy-Sells Barbie.”

By Kathy Catanzarite


Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Handelonthelaw.com Staff Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.





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