Mattel has just launched a new version of Barbie as a ‘female entrepreneur’ – accessories include purse, smartphone and tablet.
Of course, she is still first and foremost a ‘Barbie’ with her signature idealized female body type -apparently exaggerated to such a degree that a real life Barbie wouldn’t be able to stand or walk – she would have to crawl (!!). Nonetheless in Barbie world these proportions and matching outfits allow Barbie to take on many guises as a beach babe, princess, Pop star but more recently expanded to include President, astronaut, registered nurse, surgeon, and flight attendant and now, to entrepreneur.
Understandably there have been negative responses – And I can relate. In my ideal world Barbie would be an artifact from my childhood.
But I also believe that a female entrepreneurship version of a Barbie can be a good thing
Certainly not as a final stop but as a first, (albeit overly stereotyped) step in the right direction.
Like any tool, it can be used effectively or manipulated
Entrepreneur Barbie could initiate a valid inquiry and act as a bridge in a girls world overwrought with princesses, pop stars and fashionistas to the world of entrepreneurs? Sparking further interest … in a landscape where growing numbers of tangible female role models exist
Additional steps need to be taken. These need to be forged by parents, teachers, educators, non-profits and governments to further expand the horizons of possibilities for our girls to be entrepreneurs and innovators, to encourage them to stretch their capabilities, dream big, not be discouraged by failures and embrace diversity in themselves and others as that is what leads to entrepreneurial breakthroughs. Entrepreneur Barbie challenges us to provide additional real life examples of female entrepreneurs so that Barbie becomes just one example in a sea of possibilities…
I say – let’s give it a try!