Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Computer Engineer Barbie

I'm happy about Computer Engineer Barbie. No doll will save the world, but every little bit helps.

It's annoying, though, that some people only see one more opportunity to trot out this classic:
def belittle(geek):
prejudice = "Well, then, she's not much of a {0}, is she?"
if geek.is_femme:
excuse = 'geek'
else:
excuse = 'woman'
return prejudice.format(excuse)

2 comments:

Erik said...

Why in particular are you happy about this? Does Computer Engineer Barbie validate your life in some way?

And how does a doll holding a pink plastic computer make the world a better place?

(Disclosure: My wife is a mechanical engineer, and I'm no misogynist.)

Catherine said...

Erik, if everything you'd seen through the consumer culture as a child - every television character, every commercial, and every toy - suggested that all computer programmers were women, would your life have turned out the same way?

The answer might be "yes" for you personally - there are always a handful of outliers who are almost immune to pressure and expectations - but society can't survive on outliers alone.

It doesn't take much hesitation to grab the keyboard before people around you - and you yourself - start assuming it's not really your thing. Then society has to limp along with some of its potentially talented people steering themselves away from things they could have done great at. That hurts us all.