Barbie And You – Do You Feel Empowered? – Mattel Joins The Girl Movement With "I Can Be" Academy

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The makers of the Barbie doll [Mattel] have created an "I Can Be" Academy to inspire pre-teen girls to pursue some of the 125 careers Barbie has held since her debut in 1959. They hope this will give young women the opportunity to explore other careers and feel empowered in the process.

"It's about showing girls that nothing is impossible," says Adriana Gut, Barbie's brand manager. "That's the goal of our campaign - to empower girls. By role playing with Barbie, girls can explore a world without limits," she says.

Although, the "I Can Be" line allows girls to explore a wide array of careers some are concerned Barbie is a doll that affects the self-esteem of young women instead of increasing it. As Barbie, has the perfect figure, hair, clothes and careers. Many critics assert you will never see Barbie looking sub-par doing a "regular job." All of her careers are glamorous and if she has a "real job" she will always appear glamorous doing it with cute accessories to match of course. And many young women find it hard to obtain the perfect life of Barbie. They simply can't afford her high heels, make-up and wheels.

But Mattel stresses Barbie is a great tool to lead young women to careers they otherwise would never have thought of. They also say Barbie is a wonderful role model and girls everywhere can and will be inspired by her. Until Barbie appears like the average Jane, the Barbie debate will continue for many more years to come.

What do you think about the Barbie "I Can Be" Academy? Is this something to aid or harm the self-esteem of young women? We would be interested in your comments.

For more information visit, BecauseIamaGirl.

Team Because I am a Girl is Plan Canada's administrators of the Because I am a Girl blog. For more information, visit

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