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Toys Google

Before Barbie's Brainy Makeover, Mattel Execs Met With White House, Google 125

theodp writes: Mattel came under fire last November over its portrayal of Computer Engineer Barbie as incompetent. But the toymaker is now drawing kudos for its new Imagine the Possibilities Barbie ad campaign (video), which shows little girls pretending to be professionals in real-life settings, including a college professor lecturing students about the brain. Ad Age, however, is cynical of the empowering spin on Barbie, which it says "comes across as a manipulative way to silence criticism." Interestingly, some of that criticism may have come from the White House.

WH Visitor Records show that Barbie's brainy makeover came after Mattel execs — Evelyn Mazzocco, Julia Pistor, Heather Lazarus — were summoned to the White House last April to meet with the White House Council on Women and Girls. A little Googling suggests other attendees at the sit-down included representatives of the nation's leading toy makers (Disney Consumer, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, American Girl), media giants (Disney Channels, Viacom, TIME, Scholastic, Univision, Participant Media, Cartoon Network, Netflix), retailers (Walmart, Target), educators, scientists, the U.S. Dept. of Education (including the Deputy Director of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative), philanthropists (Rockefeller, Harnisch Foundations) — and Google. Representing Google was CS Education in Media Program Manager Julie Ann Crommett, who has worked with Disney to shape programming to inspire girls to pursue CS in conjunction with the search giant's $50 million Made With Code initiative.

The April White House meeting appears to be a reschedule of a planned March meeting that was to have included other Mattel execs, including Stephanie Cota, Venetia Davie, and Lori Pantel, to whom the task of apologizing for Computer Engineer Barbie fell last November. For the first time in over a decade, Barbie was no longer the most popular girls' toy last holiday season, having lost her crown to Disney Princesses Elsa and Anna, who coincidentally teamed up with Google-backed Code.org last December to "teach President Obama to code" at a widely-publicized White House event.
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Before Barbie's Brainy Makeover, Mattel Execs Met With White House, Google

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  • cut the crap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 07, 2015 @05:07PM (#50884799)

    This has little to do with either "toys" or "Google".

    Can we please have a "SJW" category that because a dumping ground for this kind of crap, plus a way of keeping it out of my feed?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They keep posting it because it keeps getting a lot of comments and views. If you want it to stop, don't comment. Ignore it and hope others do likewise.

    • "SJW"

      ..drink.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I second that. SJWs are annoying and may pose real danger, but they are not interesting at all, as they just rehash millennia-old arrogance, greed and stupidity.

  • philanthropists (Rockefeller,...)
    Hahahaha!
    • Yes... "'The nerve', of Mattel doing what we do with real people."

    • I see where you're going with that, but that's how it is with almost all philanthropists. It's a way for bad people to spin a positive legacy, and Rockefeller was the most prominent example of that. There's nothing wrong with that statement.

      Or there wouldn't be, if the summary weren't talking about the Rockefeller Foundation, which is an NGO and not a philanthropist... So, in other words, everybody's wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Look, just stop.

    Just let little girls and boys play using their own wild imaginations and get out of their heads with all your political posturing.

    Nobody voted for your social meddling.

    • I can almost see the kids sitting there, watching the adults bicker back and forth until one of them gets up and says "'scuse me? When you're done playing with our toys, can we have them?"

    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      We always made sure we had cars & trucks & shovels & such for our daughters. but they didn't get used much.

      One day we saw them playing with the garage & cars, and got closer.

      "This is the mama truck" said one.
      And her sister picked up another, and replied, "This is the baby truck"

      we gave up.

      hawk

  • "Don't ask me, I'm just a girl"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ad Age, however, is cynical of the empowering spin on Barbie, which it says "comes across as a manipulative way to silence criticism." Interestingly, some of that criticism may have come from the White House.

    Truly there is just no pleasing some people. I mean, seriously, criticizing someone because you can no longer criticize them?

    "I want a pony, why aren't you giving me a pony, you guys are jerks."
    "Ok, here's a pony."
    "How dare you guys give me a pony, you guys are jerks."

    WTF?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's true of nearly all activists these days. People talk about "the 1%" but should really be concerning people is the new Outrage Class, the people who exist solely to be outraged. You're right, you can't appease an SJW, because they're literally unpleasable. Give in to every single one of their demands, and they'll just move the goal posts. I've watched it happen again and again. The most recent example is the SXSW debacle. SXSW should have just canceled the SJW panels and run. Trying to appease the SJW

      • SJW

        Fuck you I'm not drunk. Now give me my goddamn keys! *THUD*

      • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gma i l .com> on Saturday November 07, 2015 @06:49PM (#50885239) Journal

        Cut-and-paste of the above post by someone who is anonymous so that it will have a score of +2 instead of 0:

        That's true of nearly all activists these days. People talk about "the 1%" but should really be concerning people is the new Outrage Class, the people who exist solely to be outraged. You're right, you can't appease an SJW, because they're literally unpleasable. Give in to every single one of their demands, and they'll just move the goal posts. I've watched it happen again and again. The most recent example is the SXSW debacle. SXSW should have just canceled the SJW panels and run. Trying to appease the SJWs just makes no one happy because they'll just move the goal posts of acceptable yet again and all SXSW will accomplish is pissing off their actual attendees. I've watched a conference do exactly that: add in more "diversity" and "women in tech" type panels, and now no one even talks about that conference any more, because no one bothers going to it. Not even the SJWs they were trying to appease, because they were never going to the show in the first place.

        Much like in this case, the people bitching about Barbie were never going to buy them anyway. So now Mattel has wasted who knows how much time and money and the SJW crowd is still acting all outraged because that's literally all they live for. Anyone could have seen this coming.

        All this will do is piss off their actual paying customers and fail to grow any new ones. Yet again. Every time.

        SJWs and those who cater to them don't seem to understand the law of unintended consequences. Or of trying to meet the other side half-way.

  • Wow. When did parents give up responsibility for raising there kids to toy manufactures?
    • by MacTO ( 1161105 )

      Around the time toy manufacturers started making 1/2 hour long commercials that pretended to be child-friendly entertainment, and likely earlier. Never doubt the power of the marketing industry, particularly when their audience are children who aren't yet cynical about the ways of the world. Never doubt the power of children who beg for something until they get it, even if parents only try to make their child happy once a year with a gift under the Christmas tree.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      But that is a very capitalist idea! Just outsource it!

    • When did parents give up responsibility for raising *there* kids to toy *manufactures*?

      13.7 milliweeks after they stopped teaching them how to write.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @06:09PM (#50885035) Journal

    When do we get Breaking Bad Barbie?

    • Never. No carpet to munch on, no vagina, she's frigid. If they really wanted to educate kids, they would introduce anatomically-correct Ken and Barbie so parents would actually have to explain gender, sex, stds, that the stork bringing the baby home was a lie, . But OH NOs! Then you'd have to talk about abortion, lesbians, gays, bis, trans-everything. Can't have that! Far better that kids end up having kids than tell them the facts of life.

      • If they really wanted to educate kids, they would introduce anatomically-correct Ken and Barbie...Then you'd have to talk about abortion, lesbians, gays, bis, trans-everything.

        Pretty sure you're thinking of the Mr & Ms. Potato Head, what with the interchangeable parts and all.

        • If they really wanted to educate kids, they would introduce anatomically-correct Ken and Barbie...Then you'd have to talk about abortion, lesbians, gays, bis, trans-everything.

          Pretty sure you're thinking of the Mr & Ms. Potato Head, what with the interchangeable parts and all.

          Nice!

        • Ladies, gentlemen, and others may I present ... BarbaraBarbie.

          In business terms it makes total sense. Don't go for one sale, go for a recurring one. Aftermarket tits-n-bits, you know it makes sense.

      • I don't know. Trying to put those little bitty condoms on the Ken doll could get kinda tricky.

  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @06:47PM (#50885221)

    So they made a Barbie out of pure white ABS plastic, plump and hairy in all the wrong places, dressed it in torn jeans, sneakers, and a stained IEEE sweater, and dusted with synthetic Dorito cheese dust, accessorized with 27 computers and a coffee maker? And the box it comes in converts into Computer Engineer Barbie's parent's basement?

  • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Saturday November 07, 2015 @10:03PM (#50885933)

    What exactly is that, and how did it start? Was it BJ's personal harem where he could pluck out the various women he hunted, like Monica?

    More seriously, WTF was the White House (read Obama) doing summoning Mattel execs about how they make their dolls? In the Middle East, there is ISIS run amuk, in the US, Obamacare is almost bust, and this White House has nothing better to do than micromanage the pastime of half the population? I know he's a lame duck, but if there are no hot issues that he really cares about (since he's exposed as a total loser in Foreign Policy, letting the Russians walk over him in not just Syria but Iraq as well), can't he just sit in the White House and plan his retirement, instead of telling toy companies how they should design their dolls?

    • What exactly is that, and how did it start? Was it BJ's personal harem where he could pluck out the various women he hunted, like Monica?

      More seriously, WTF was the White House (read Obama) doing summoning Mattel execs about how they make their dolls? In the Middle East, there is ISIS run amuk, in the US, Obamacare is almost bust, and this White House has nothing better to do than micromanage the pastime of half the population? I know he's a lame duck, but if there are no hot issues that he really cares about (since he's exposed as a total loser in Foreign Policy, letting the Russians walk over him in not just Syria but Iraq as well), can't he just sit in the White House and plan his retirement, instead of telling toy companies how they should design their dolls?

      It's to refocus attention on shit that doesn't matter instead of shit that he doesn't get done.

  • ...if it results in the right outcome? Of course, Mattel is in the business of making money. They responded to criticism. Isn't that what the critics wanted? What's so awful about that?

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