There’s a children’s book creating some buzz on the market at the moment, Barbie I Can Be a Computer Engineer. The original intention from what I understand was for the book to empower young women to step into fields historically dominated by men. Somewhere in the bowels of the book the writer took a wrong turn and lost her way according to critics. From what I understand, Barbie was attempting to fix a computer crash on her Pepto Bismo pink laptop. Somehow the computer contacted a virus. Rather than heeding the words of her computer teacher on how to fix the problem, she got into a pillow fight with Skipper in the end calling on two male friends who were able to fix the problem. Holy Bimbo’s Batman. Really? A woman writing about empowering women brings men in to solve the problem? Wasn’t that the problem in the first place?
I got my first Barbie in grade school. Instantly upon hitting the marketplace the questionably proportioned doll was a hit with little girls. Barbie was everything young girls wanted to be when they grew up. Thin, but well proportioned, with a generous bust line, beautiful skin, and lush blond hair. And those legs went on from here to Biloxi! Apparently the doll never ate, although I placed plenty of fake peas and pork chops on her pink plastic plates. Her waist would have had Scarlett O’Hara tightening her stays. Frankly I think she was sneaking cigarettes and drinking coffee behind her pretty pink closet.
Thinking back she was the first “fully growed” female doll I owned. Before Barbie I had Betsy Wetsy obviously to get me in training for what was to come, numerous Madam Alexander dolls, good old Raggedy Ann and a collection of Ginny dolls in a variety of ethnic costumes. Barbie perhaps was the first doll to get me thinking about boys, at least other than as an annoyance on the playground. Barbie didn’t have a profession in the beginning so I don’t know how she managed to afford all the lovely clothes and shoes or her dream house. Ken came along several years after Barbie appeared on the scene adding a new dimension to playing with the doll. Barbie had the car, so I assume she picked up him for dates. Memory serving me I don’t remember Mattel ever providing Ken with a vehicle along the way. Maybe Barbie got hers in the divorce settlement? This is pure conjecture on my part. I got an old Toyota Corolla with 150,000 miles on her. Naturally Ken was well built and good looking. In a perfect world Ideal rather than Mattel should have manufactured the pair.
As a child I loved playing dolls. According to the psychiatrists dolls actually make good role playing devices for girls aiding with their emotional and mental development. With the advent of more advanced toys actual dolls rather than virtual have sort of fallen by the wayside. The last doll I bought for one of my granddaughters was a Brat doll and that was some time ago. Before that I believe it was an American Girl doll, expensive by the way, and now as they are getting older there is a void. It wasn’t until entering middle school I regrettably tucked away my dolls in exchange for the real world. There are times when I see them standing on a rack in a toy store or in an ad in the paper I still get a pang of nostalgia.
Stereotypes limit us, to my view. There is no reason why a man should be better at math while a girl excels at English. Years of programming have landed us here. For many years I worked with engineers. Not for any particular reason really, I’m not one myself. After several jobs in the industry continuing on in that vein seemed to be the natural way of things. Most of the engineers I worked with were male. Only in the larger companies did I notice so much as a smattering of female engineers. At one job working for a small company manufacturing sump pumps there wasn’t one female engineer on the payroll. The women in the company worked either in accounting, human resources, support positions such as mine (executive assistant), or in maintenance. On one occasion we hosted a convention. It was my job to welcome three hundred engineers from around the country, entertain them, find housing for them, and generally get the show on the road. Truth is I like a project, probably why I’ve been married four times. I’ve often thought I should have been an event or party planner rather than …… I keep forgetting actually what is is I am. Anyhow, I shlepped groups from the airport to the various hotels they were booked at, attended events, organized events, planned picnics on two tiered London bus and generally went mad for a week. Of the three hundred engineers accepting the invitation three were women. Well, they said they were at least. It was difficult to tell behind the horned rim glasses, tailored suits, no nonsense hairdos, and hands off shoes they were wearing. Reminded me of those movies where the mousey secretary is transformed when her boss removes her glasses and lets her bun out of submission to long flowing hair. I spent some time with these ladies, and they had a lot to offer. One of them actually brought up what to wear to the final more formal event to be held at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I believe it went horned rim glasses, tailored suit hands off shoes. Why, I couldn’t help but asking? She said it was difficult enough to be accepted in the man’s world of engineering on your merit and not your looks so dressing down helped them fit in and kept the flirting to a minimum. Really?
We’ve come a long way with this issue. Young girls are picking up bats on the field, and men are working as nannies. I’m not convinced we’ll ever fully tweak the system. It is a man’s world in many ways, but we’ve at least stretched it a bit out of shape.
This is my favorite baked chicken recipe. Moist and tender and always a hit.
Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
3 T milk
2 large eggs
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or fryer cut up if you prefer)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow bowl combine flour, salt, paprika, cayenne, and pepper. In another shallow bowl beat eggs and milk. In a third bowl combine cheese and bread crumbs. First coat chicken in flour mixture, then egg mixture, and finally roll in crumb mixture. Place in refrigerator for 1 hr. to set.
Put in well greased 13 x 9 inch pan and cook for 40-45 mins. or until internal temperature is 160 degrees.