Today, Mattel launched the career of Entrepreneur Barbie, a perfectly coiffed, pink-clad, still impossibly-proportioned doll who is somehow supposed to help fuel the corporate ambition of little girls.
The doll, who was announced months ago but hits shelves today, comes with a smartphone and a tablet and her own team of ten Chief Inspirational Officers — real-life female executives who have collaborated with Mattel on the new doll. The CIOs include the likes of Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, Rent the Runway founders Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss, and others.
Entrepreneurial Barbie is so entrepreneurial, she's got her own hashtags, Twitter chats, and a power lunch scheduled for her first day on the job:
Barbie, who is 55-years-old, has held 150 jobs altogether, many of them much more exciting than "entrepreneur." She's been an ocean treasure explorer, arctic rescuer, computer engineer, and the president, so her resumé is pretty impressive already. But Mattel picked "entrepreneur" for their "I Can Be" line of dolls so the doll can stay current. Company spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni said that "we always try to make career Barbie a reflection of the times. Women entrepreneurs are more prevalent now and they're growing in number. [It's] a great way to encourage girls to also learn about this role."
Mattel caught some flack recently after Barbie appeared in the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated, for obvious reasons. But the toymaker fought back with the "unapologetic" campaign, saying back in February:
As a legend herself, and under constant criticism about her body and how she looks, posing in [Sports Illustrated] gives Barbie and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are, celebrate what they have done and be #unapologetic.
Which is basically the defense used by real-life women who are criticized for appearing in provocative magazine photos. Except those women aren't a corporate team made up mostly of men discussing how to best sexualize their product (that is targeted to children) to make a profit.
The online chat to kick off her launch went basically the way you'd expect, with Barbie throwing out softball questions to an adoring audience:
No worries, and best of luck with your ventures, Entrepreneur Barbie. We know you're in good shape because you have top-notch electronics and you're dressed for success and you have several different purse accessories. Thanks for teaching children to aspire vaguely to buzzwordy nothings.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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