Barbie Gets Geekier: Computer Science + Cyberpunk

Mattel's plastic princess has quite the well-rounded resume: Barbie has piloted a plane, run for President, and explored Space. In 2010, she'll try her hand at her 125th vocation, and Mattel decided to put it to a vote on their website: Architect, Computer Engineer, Environmentalist, News Anchor, or Surgeon.

The results were ... unexpected.

Website visitors (read: parents) overwhelmingly voted for Computer Science Engineer -- a victory for geeks! On the right of the results page, you'll see the new Barbie: complete with a pink laptop that runs Linux, stylish glasses, and a shirt decorated with binary code.

But who's that other Barbie on the left? Well, Mattel was suspicious of the poll results, so they did their own research. In a no-parents poll, Mattel discovered that little girls don't want to grow up and write code in a cramped cubicle. They want to be News Anchors. Probably because they all want to be on TV ... or maybe because that's the most acceptably "feminine" job among the choices.

Feminist critique aside, we're glad that Mattel decided to call the vote a tie as opposed to dumping CompSci Barbie down the drain. Kids do the whining, but parents do the buying -- so both dolls deserve a spot on shelves.

Mattel also has this creepier product on the way: a Barbie with a built-in video camera and screen. She's even got a USB port so you can watch and edit the videos on a computer. We predict Flip Barbie will be just as popular with geeky kids as CompSci Barbie, but we hope that she gets a less humiliating outfit before her release. Magenta crushed velvet with zebra stripes? Isn't Barbie supposed to be a fashion plate?

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