Thursday, September 17, 2015

I Have Some Kinda Hard Questions for Hello Barbie

In case you missed it, sometime between Donald Trump's vaccine truthing and a Texas 9th grader getting arrested for being smart, The New York Times magazine reported some big news about Barbie. 

This November, Mattel plans to release a new talking Barbie doll, called "Hello Barbie!" With the help of Artificial Intelligence, Hello Barbie will be able to engage in actual, legitimate dialogue with your child (who presumably in most cases will be a girl, because of course Barbie is for girls). Hello Barbie can "remember" stuff like your kid's name, her birthday, her favorite color, and that she wants to be a vet when she grows up. 

Basically, Hello Barbie is an anthropomorphized Siri-for-iPhone who looks like a Vegas stripper and provides cloying, non-committal answers to questions like "Do you believe in God?" by responding, "I think a person's beliefs are very personal to them."

Well, I think if Mattel is going to roll out Hello Barbie, they need to go all in. Hello Barbie needs to answer the HARD questions. None of this "what's your favorite ice cream flavor" shit! So here are some kinda hard questions I'm going to make Hello Barbie answer after I buy her for my daughter's 8th birthday this December. 

Come on, Mattel! Let's DO THIS.

1. Hello Barbie, when I grow up, what should I do to avoid being bullied at work, sexually, professionally, or otherwise?

2. Hello Barbie, how should I support my family when I make approximately 22% less money than my male counterpart of equivalent education, talent, and experience?

3. Hello Barbie, when I grow up, if I have a baby, do you think I will still have to nurse it on a public toilet after going back to work when it's six weeks old?

4. Hello Barbie, what should I do when a guy date rapes me but I'm not totally sure it actually was rape exactly because I've been taught to believe that putting myself into these situations means that whatever happens between me and a dick is all my fault?

5. Hello Barbie, over a lifetime, how much money do you estimate I will spend on beauty products aggressively marketed directly to me, not to mention all the money I will spend on "feminine hygiene?"

6. Hello Barbie, when I grow up, will it still be easier to buy a handgun over the counter at a supermarket that sells grapefruits two aisles over than it is to get a vaccine for HPV at Planned Parenthood so that I don't die of cervical cancer?

7. Hello Barbie, I know you think "math is hard," but actually I'm really good at math right now and I like it a lot. Do you think I'll stay that way, or will all of my confidence in math and science be gone by the time I get to middle school?

If and when Hello Barbie can answer these questions to my satisfaction, I will officially let her babysit my daughter.



Photo: NYT Magazine

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