Architect Barbie

Mattel's Barbie I can be... Architect

When I first heard this doll was in the works (maybe a few months or a year back), I was psyched – Architect Barbie, how cool is that?

But when I saw her online this weekend, I was disappointed and maybe even a little horrified. Pink drawing tube, high heel black booties, a short dress and a hard hat – yikes, that’s pretty far from reality (sounds more like Street Walker Barbie tangled with the Village People).
And then, in maybe the next breath, I got over it – this is a toy! It’s for imaginative and creative play and for fun. I think they did a great job, love the city skyline dress, the side pony tail and the black eye glasses (I have had all those things). LOVE that the hard-hat is *not* pink, and that helps me get past the pink drawing tube and the pink model… Overall, fabulous! Besides, most Barbies end up naked with their hair chopped off, at least mine did.
Do I think this will help attract more young women to the profession? No, and frankly I don’t think there is a problem attracting females to the profession (most arch schools are 50/50 male-female). The trouble we have is keeping women in the profession and actually converting them to licensed architects. Which is maybe why my first response to the doll was one part horror and one part disappointment due to the lack of reality/ false impression given. The box disclaimer should read “This is a good toy for a young child, but not intended as an accurate representation for the 16-22 year old who is considering or pursuing the profession.”
Personally, I’d like to see Physicist Barbie, Truck Driver Barbie, or maybe 4-Star General Barbie. Or a little closer to home – General Contractor Barbie.
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2 Responses to Architect Barbie

  1. Paul Cline says:

    Is the building model the Barbie dream house? What can you do when the client wants it pink?
    I had some of the same thoughts you did. On one hand looking at the other I Can Be… Barbies, Architect and Computer Engineer at least break away from a narrow set of gender role reinforcing Barbies. On the other I would be reluctant to get one for my son. Cultural norms are hard to get past once learned.

  2. Brian Leet says:

    Given the level of pinkness of the market space for young girl’s toys, I’d say this is pretty restrained. Really only the pink drawing tube is totally over the top. As noted, I think the model is of her dream house, pretty appropriate there. And the shoes dress and jacket, while a bit girly, are now worse in my opinion than some real life adult outfits I’ve seen. It appears they even muted the normally bubblegum pink for a slight more magenta hue.

    It’s easy to pick on Barbie, but you could do a lot worse than this one. And any 16-22 year old looking to Barbie for career, or wardrobe, inspiration likely has bigger problems in pursuing architecture!

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