The workbook and games that go along with this project/marketing campaign/whatever the heck it is notes that it’s all funded by “a generous grant from Mattel.” Really, now. It features Barbie and her dark-haired but light-skinned friends in the outfits of Barbie’s various careers over the decades. Yes, yes, women can become astronauts (with hot pink trim on their spacesuits) or pilots (who wear high-heeled Mary Janes.)
Here’s the game’s presentation of workwear for a veterinarian, for example:
My pets’ vet has a long blonde ponytail, but she generally puts on some pants to go to work.
It’s laudable to teach girls that they can grow up to become whatever they want. The problem is that girls are asked to identify people who perform various jobs by what they wear, and those outfits have a lot less fabric and a lot more pink than what real pediatricians and pilots wear to work every day.
For a campaign that measures up people by what they wear, it’s interesting that the end result is a patch (not a badge, at least) that scouts can wear on the back of their uniform. The patch is not subtle.
It’s pretty and all, but does the Barbie logo really belong on a scout’s sash? “It is particularly troubling that Daisies and Brownies, the youngest Scouts, are encouraged to wear a Barbie patch, transforming their previously commercial-free uniforms into a walking ad,” notes a petition started against the Barbie project launched by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for a New American Dream.