Awesome Eight-Year-Old Tells Dwell Magazine What She Thinks About Architect Barbie (VIDEO)
Back in August, Dwell magazine writer Alexandra Lange wrote an excellent piece about Architect Barbie and marketers’ attempts to “girl-ify” classic toys like Lego and Lincoln Logs. She concluded with the thought that even though Architect Barbie’s focus seems to be more on the pretty outfit (which includes a hot pink blueprint tube, of course) than the profession itself, playing with her might encourage girls to develop an interest in architecture – which is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Eight-year-old possible future architect Olivia Steger had some thoughts of her own about Architect Barbie. In a very well-written letter to Dwell, Olivia explains that encouraging a young girl’s interest in architecture isn’t as simple as handing her an Architect Barbie. Check it out:
When I was a kid, I had a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe (in classic red and yellow), educational games, stuffed animals, art sets, My Little Ponies, markers and cardboard boxes and empty shampoo bottles, and yes, a few Barbies. In fact, I even had the hot pink Barbie convertible. That thing ruled.
My parents always encouraged me to use my imagination and use toys and other objects in whatever manner I saw fit. Because of this, I ended up with crime-fighting My Little Ponies, pencils and markers hanging out inside the Fisher Price castle and talking feudal politics, and Sailor Moon Barbie getting in a serious relationship with Doodle Bear.
It was weird. But in the end, all that creative play probably helped my development as a blogger (not to mention my Sailor Moon Barbie / Doodle Bear fan fiction).
Inherently, there’s nothing wrong with a young girl playing with Barbies, or baby dolls, or any of the other stereotypical “girl toys”. But, as Olivia says in her letter, handing a girl an Architect Barbie and expecting it to take care of the whole “girls can’t be architects” thing is a little misguided. Girls should be encouraged to read books, pursue their interests (whatever they may be), and play with toys that fall everywhere along the gender-marketing spectrum.
The girl in this video gets it:
What do you think? Are “Career Barbies” a good way to get girls interested in subjects that are normally boy-centric? What kinds of toys did you play with as a kid, and do you think they affected your development and the adult you became?