START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
901,163 people care about Women's Rights

Barbie Adds Entrepreneur to Resume But Doesn’t Get the Job Done

Barbie Adds Entrepreneur to Resume But Doesn’t Get the Job Done

If Barbie had to limit her resume to one page, she’d have a really hard time. Over the last 50 years she has held over 150 different careers from veterinarian to aerobics instructor. She’s even been the President of the United States.

This month Mattel added a brand new career to Barbie’s resume — entrepreneur — as they unveiled their 2014 Career of the Year Doll.

Described as a “smart, stylish career woman” breaking through the “plastic ceiling,” Entrepreneur Barbie is meant to inspire girls to follow their dreams and remind them that, “If they can dream it, the can be it!” While the message is well meaning, the execution falls short in many ways.

First for the positives.

Women are starting their own businesses in record numbers. In fact, one in five start-ups globally are run by women and the rate of women running businesses is 50 percent higher than start-ups in general. Presenting girls with a Barbie that celebrates this career choice is great, especially since Mattel consulted with 10 real life women entrepreneurs who they coined as their “Chief Inspirational Officers.”

The list of successful women includes the founders of popular companies like Rent the Runway and One Kings Lane and most notably (at least in my book), Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization on a mission to close the gender gap in STEM education and careers.

Of Entrepreneur Barbie, Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code said the following:

I think you can’t be what you can’t see so having inspiring positive role models for dolls that inspire young girls to be entrepreneurs is exactly what we need to inspire a younger generation of women to start their own businesses.

I too am a firm believer in the “if she’s see it, she can be it” rationale and for that reason I have to ask why oh why the head-to-toe pink? Why not dress Barbie in a classic black power suit or really anything else besides pink?

Having her dressed in pink might seem like a small detail, but it matters, particularly given research that suggests Barbie’s body and dress communicate messages of sexualization and objectification to girls. A recent study from Oregon State University also found that girls who play with Barbie see fewer career options for themselves than boys. Perhaps if Barbie’s body was more realistic and she wasn’t constantly dressed in pink, these findings would be different.

If playing with Barbie can actually limit a girl’s career aspirations, Mattel is going to have to stop suggesting that their dolls are role models for girls. When it comes to Entrepreneur Barbie they should have also thought a bit outside the gender box for the types of business girls could start. In a downloadable PDF activity for girls on their website, Mattel highlights cooking, crafts, jewelry making and animal hobbies as great launching off points for starting businesses.

Perhaps the most glaring omission from Mattel’s latest campaign is the missed opportunity of discussing the unfair challenges women entrepreneurs face because of their gender. Research has found that angel investors and venture capitalists overwhelmingly fund companies founded by men despite evidence that women-led companies out-perform companies with all male leadership team. That’s right. Even when women-led companies are doing better than their male competitors, they still get the short end of the stick when it comes to funding!

What’s more? A new study has found that even when a company’s pitch to an investor is identical, when it comes from a man it is more likely to get the money. That same study points out that women-led companies have only received 7 percent of all venture capital funding in the United States. Let me say that again, only 7 percent!

Igniting a conversation about this injustice, particularly given the stature of their Chief Inspirational Officers, would have been an extraordinary step forward. When you think about that, can we really count a Barbie decked out in hot pink with a brief case as a step forward? I think not.

Related From Care2:

Move Over Barbie: Make Way for Lammily the World’s First Average Sized Doll

The Battle of the Barbies: Iconic vs. “Normal” vs. Plus-Size

Toy Makers Try To Break Gender Stereotypes, But Can’t Seem to Ditch the Pink

Read more: , ,

Photo Credit: Tracheotomy Bob

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

76 comments

+ add your own
7:02PM PDT on Jun 27, 2014

Some little girls like pink. Some.

2:20PM PDT on Jun 27, 2014

When I was a little girl I played with cowboys and Indians, knights in armour and Action Man - or rather, with the horses and dogs which came with them, and to whom the humans were mere accessories. Nevertheless, I still liked excessively frilly party dresses which I would now think were godawful - and I'm rather fond of pink.

The most disturbing aspect of this particular Barbie isn't the pink, as irritating as it is, but the girly business options. What happened to Barbie, haulage contractor or Barbie, stockbroker? Or Barbie, farmer, with wellie boots and an old mac tied up with string? Is there a sensible brown Barbie desk to go with the laptop, and if not, why not?

How much of that 7%:93% split in venture capital funding is due to there being fewer female entrepreneurs to start with, I wonder, how much is due to female entrepreneurs not getting the funding they need - and how much to women being better at budgetting and less recklessly extravagant, so that they don't need to ask for so much external support before getting a business started?

10:55AM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

Sorry, but this is garbage. When I was a little girl, I had a few dolls. They had different faces, shapes and sizes but they were never entrepreneurs, beauticians or engineers. The same doll can be any of it: a doctor, a princess, a prince, a spy, a ninja, a soccer player, a space traveler, a tiger in disguise. You can dress her in pink, blue, white, shorts, dress, suit; put her into an office or a palace. That's what dolls are for. But sure, with "specialized" Barbies adults end up buying more toys and paying more.

Wow, there is even a downloadable pdf for activities... Sure, kids are not supposed to have any imagination to figure it out how to play.

10:44AM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

Sorry, but this is garbage. When I was a little girl, I had a few dolls. They had different faces, shapes and sizes but they were never entrepreneurs, beauticians or engineers. The same doll can be any of it: a doctor, a princess, a prince, a spy, a ninja, a soccer player, a space traveler, a tiger in disguise. You can dress her in pink, blue, white, shorts, dress, suit; put her into an office or a palace. That's what dolls are for. But sure, with "specialized" Barbies adults end up buying more toys and paying more.

Wow, there is even a downloadable pdf for activities... Sure, kids are not supposed to have any imagination to figure it out how to play.

8:17AM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

noted

7:58AM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

As much as I may get trashed for saying this, the truth to me seems pretty plain...they put Barbie in pink because little girls LIKE pink! On the whole, take a look at what many little girls will choose if given the option; it's usually that color.

Whether it's because they just naturally like pink, or whether it's because they've been "conditioned" to like it, or perhaps a combination of both...I can't say. But, the love many little girls have of pink is just there, and obviously Mattel wants to produce what those children are going to want...

6:14PM PDT on Jun 24, 2014

Give Barbie a girlfriend and leave her alone - We all know ken didn't work out for Barbie - at homes around the world she usually gets paired up with a teddy bear for her trip to the alter - what does that say? - obviosly it says kids have better imaginations than the adults who buy them - smile
.

3:51PM PDT on Jun 24, 2014

Thanks for sharing

11:45AM PDT on Jun 24, 2014

Thank you

2:31AM PDT on Jun 24, 2014

thanks

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

I can't believe how far back we're going in history! We live in the 21st Century, no to slavery, no…

And what form of severity in punishment will this Kenny Hetrick receive should he do good on his act…

It's a shame Susan B Anthony doesn't have any descendants to force this Republican front group to cease…

meet our writers

Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.