By Stacy Straczynski, Associate Editor
Barbie may soon be shedding her Malibu-worthy bikini and sunglasses for a T-square and some proper office attire. A new online poll from Mattel is giving consumers a chance to choose Barbie’s next career foray (her 125th), and Architect made the list of distinguished professions—along with environmentalist, surgeon, news anchor, and computer engineer.
The global “I can be…” campaign, the result of a partnership between The White House Project and Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation, aims to inspire girls to “pay out their dreams and explore the world and all of its possibilities,” according to a statement by senior vice president of Barbie Marketing Stephanie Cota.
Consumers can cast their vote for Barbie's next career at www.barbie.com/vote. The winning career will be announced on Feb. 12 at the New York toy fair. Mattel says the company is not releasing any information about the current poll results in order “to keep the vote fair.” It mentions that design concepts for all five potential dolls have been completed, however, only the winning look will actually be revealed.
To date, Barbie has yet to “take on” an architect role. I tried to get in touch over the last few days with a couple top women architects to pick their brains, but unfortunately none returned my calls. How would the industry feel about having Barbie “promote” their field? Would it bring some prestige, or have the opposite effect? And what would an architect Barbie look like anyway? I wonder if she’ll come with her LEED certification…
Personally, I’m a bit skeptical about how excited little girls will be about the potential Architect Barbie. I know I myself centered my childhood aspirations on Hollywood fame and fortune, (I laugh now to think that I’m happily a penniless journalist now) but who’s to say that having a Barbie or two with a more high-profile career wouldn’t have inspired me in my youth to pursue a different direction?
Kids need role models these days, and if an Architect Barbie can help to decrease the psychological damage done by mid-riff bearing pop stars like Brittney Spears and Amy Winehouse, then I gladly give my kudos–and my vote.