Snowboarding Barbie with Gretchen Bleiler
A snowboarding Barbie is part of the “I Can Be” collection, which introduces girls to the wide world of careers. Many of Barbie’s jobs are to be expected – a ballroom dancer, rock star, “kid doctor,” pet vet, etc. Some, however, are more creative, like computer engineer, race car driver, or snowboarder.
Action sports have been on Barbie’s radar for a while now, but usually as a hobby. For example, I had a rollerblading Barbie when it was all the rage in the ’90s, but I never considered becoming a professional rollerblader. Now, as part of the career line, this snowboarding Barbie lets kids know that being a professional snowboarder is a good career, even though it may not be as attainable as, say, “babysitter” or “bride” (two other “I Can Be” options).
Professional snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler is associated with the snowboarding Barbie, and she gives advice to young girls about how to succeed in the career and in life. Bleiler’s advice to kids is to “Set goals and have fun” and encourages them to follow their passions.
With more kids on the internet these days, Mattel has expanded their scope of influence beyond toys to online games. In “Halfpipe Pixie,” you can control Barbie as she performs tricks like the upside air, nollie, snowflake twist, rainbow trail, frosty twist, and free flip. The game has a lot of bright pink and blue, and as an adult, I would recommend muting the sound, but it serves its purpose of keeping kids interested in action sports.
Mattel is one of the most visible and influential toy brands worldwide, and their acknowledgment of snowboarding as a career is a big step forward for the industry. Hopefully, snowboarding Barbie will encourage more young girls to pick up action sports in the real world.
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