Meet Mars Explorer Barbie

August 7, 2013  |  

Barbie, that overachiever, is getting another career. Mattel just released Space Explorer Barbie as part of its “I Can Be” collection. The toy maker teamed up with NASA to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars with the commemorative doll. This latest iteration of the doll “inspires girls to be adventurous and to always reach for the stars!”

Some are hailing this as a big win for girls and science, especially as it comes just days after the Children’s Place caught hell from parents for a t-shirt that implied girls were good at shopping and bad at math. Astronaut has also been named Career of the Year for Barbie and the girls that love her (no small feat considering Barbie has had 130 careers in her life). There are others, however, who think the doll, especially her inaccurate space suit–her suit would need gloves to withstand the -80 degrees Fahrenheit temperature on Mars–and her pinkness aren’t so great for girls. And it’s not just her space pack and helmet that’s pink. According to Mattel, Barbie’s foray into space is going to make everything pretty:

Ready to add her signature pink splash to the Red Planet,’ [the] Barbie doll is outfitted in a stylish spacesuit with pink reflective accents, helmet, space pack and signature pink space boots.

The emphasis on being pretty won’t actually do anything to get girls interested in science, some argue. But this Barbie is perhaps an improvement over the first astronaut Barbie, released in 1985. Her whole outfit was pink, save the silver miniskirt she could change into.

Does the NASA Barbie send a positive message about girls in science or is it more of the same?

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