I was wrong about architect Barbie - I thought that she was just a dilettante, an understandable perception of someone who has had over 150 careers in 52 years. I never thought of Barbie as a serious doll - The American Girls were the dolls of choice for my two daughters; nine year old girl dolls with great back stories as well as extremely well made accoutrements were hard for a feminist architect to resist. Or maybe I am just a curmudgeon (if a woman can be a curmudgeon), Barbie and I are the same age; I have aged fairly well but I can't wear 4" heels 24/7 like Barbie still does and I am a little jealous! I worked hard to become a licensed architect; five years of school, three years of internship, four days of tests (I took the old paper and pencil test) and then waiting four months to hear if I passed. Barbie just talked to the right people and presto she became an architect! NCARB, where are you?
Barbie changed my mind at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2011 Convention last week in New Orleans. She is on a mission to introduce architecture as a career to girls who may not know anything about being an architect. I saw bus load after bus load of 8 to 10 year old girls arrive at the expo hall to participate in a workshop where they designed Barbie's dream house. I spoke to one teacher from a magnet school, who related that only the girls from the school were invited to participate in the design workshop and how it was such a positive experience for the girls.
The AIA and Mattel have joined forces for a competition among AIA member to design Barbie's new dream house. I am so excited about the possibilities on how this will teach girls about design. I am collaborating with my 9 year old niece for the competition and have already learned that the colors should be pink and purple; there should be an operating door bell; and residential elevators are cool!
Women architects ...let's show Mattel what we have! Zahid - show us your stuff!