Barbie gets backlash for needing man's tech help

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- A new Barbie book for young kids is causing controversy because shows Barbie venturing into computer engineering, but a few pages in, she needs tech support from her male friends.

The book Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer for young kids is under fire because parents say it sends the wrong message to young girls.

Once upon a time, Barbie wanted to be a computer engineer. In the new kids book, Barbie powers up her laptop hoping to create a video game, but admits she'll need her friends, Steven and Bryan, to really make it happen. Then her computer gets a virus and the guys come to the rescue.

"She didn't actually fix it. They fixed it," parent Susan Wallis said. She wasn't impressed. "I think unfortunately Barbie is sometimes a little behind the times. So it sounds like in this case that could be happening again."

Wallis says it's not a book she'd let either one of her kids read. Her son, Gabe Wallis, said, "Yeah, it's pretty sexist."

"'It will go faster if Bryan and I help,' offers Steven. I mean, are you kidding me?" filmmaker Robin Hauser Reynolds said.

She says software engineering is a male dominated world. Her new documentary, "Code: Debugging the Gender Gap" seeks to empower women, but adds this book doesn't help.

"I think they're trying to fit in with current issues by talking about computer science programing and yet, what they're doing is they're reaffirming a stereotype that a girl can't do it on her own. And it's wrong," Hauser Reynolds said.

The book sells for $4.99 on Amazon and has lots of negative comments attached, such as "Please, please don't buy this book."

We reached out to Mattel, the makers of Barbie, for comment but there was no response.
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