'Entrepreneur Barbie' Switches Professions and Heads to the Boardroom
byKaitlin StanfordJun 27, 2014
Ceiling? What glass ceiling? This year, Barbie takes on the board room with her latest career move: fearless business woman. As Mattel's 2014 "Career of the Year" doll, Entrepreneur Barbie is confident, motivated, and yes, still maintains those trademark stems and impossibly pink wardrobe.
Though they've given Barbie some 150 careers to date, toy giant Mattel is hoping their new doll will inspire girls everywhere to think even bigger the next time they say "When I grow up ... " With Entrepreneur Barbie, they may just start dreaming of owning their own companies, leading teams and following in the footsteps of the eight remarkable women who helped inspire the doll. Mattel consulted a group of female entrepreneurs before production was underway, including brilliant women behind such companies as One Kings Lane, Girls Who Code and Rent the Runway.
Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, spoke with TechCrunch this week about the doll, which launched Thursday on Amazon. In the interview, she shared her thoughts on just why putting a doll like this out in the market is such a great step forward.
"Having positive role models for dolls that are inspiring young girls to be entrepreneurs is exactly what we need to inspire a generation of young women to start running businesses," she said. "You can't be what you cannot see."
(We couldn't agree more with that last line.)
Jennifer Fleiss, co-founder of Rent the Runway, also chimed in with her glowing review of Entrepreneur Barbie. "To me, Barbie has always been a way to live out each and every one of my dreams and that young women today have Barbie as a role model, an icon in the form of an entrepreneur is so exciting and the best form of inspiration."
Still, the launch came (as most Barbie launches do) with a bit of backlash from those who point out one avoidable fact: Barbie is literally an impossible figure to emulate.
"If we're talking representation, let's take a step back," wrote Sarah Gray in a Salon column Wednesday. "It is impossible to ever grow up and be Barbie. She's anatomically impossible (unless you get tons of plastic surgery and survive on light and air)."
"Entrepreneur Barbie is modern woman with her smartphone and her tablet stuck in a sexist, outdated, dangerous representation of femininity," she continued. "I take umbrage with the fact that, even though this doll is backed by an awesome group of diverse women — aimed at providing positive representation — Barbie still represents this problematic view of women."
What do you think? Is Entrepreneur Barbie a positive role model for young girls?