[Architect Barbies by Gera Feigon, Enesh Eastlick, Kristen Murphy, Carrie Genualdi, and Winnie Lam]
Barbie's new careers were announced today and looks like that MArch has still eluded her. Voters have made her a news anchor and a computer engineer, but declined to allow her to pursue a career in environmentalism, surgery, or architecture. University of Buffalo architecture professor Despina Stratigakos has long been leading the charge for an architect slot (notably, architect Barbie won the vote in 2002, but the doll was never produced). In 2007, Stratigakos put together an "Architect Barbie" exhibition at the University of Michigan as a response, with students and faculty creating their own archiBarbies (including a pregnant Glass Ceiling Barbie). A show description (link goes to a pdf) explains why architect Barbie never happened: "Mattel spokesperson Julia Jensen, interviewed by construction.com editor Judy Schriener, claimed that Barbie’s target audience (girls aged three to eleven) could not understand the complexities of an architect’s career.
More from Jensen via Stratigakos:
"When they imagine Mommy going to work, they think 'she drinks coffee; she wears a dress to work; she is on the phone all day.' A professional architect 'is not in their lexicon.'"
But now "computer engineer" is in their lexicon? Guess kids are growing up much faster these days. Stratigakos suggests, "Perhaps the limitations here lie more with the company’s marketing strategies than with the imaginative capacities of their clientele. Would Mattel sell more Barbie doll houses, for example, if it encouraged little girls to build them?"
· Barbie adds computer engineer, news anchor to resume [Reuters]
· Professor builds case for Barbie as architect [Buffalo News]