Mars Explorer Barbie Accessorizes With Pretty Pink Helmet and Rover

To celebrate the first anniversary of Curiosity's landing on Mars, Mattel has issued a special Barbie doll. And yes, she's wearing pink.

As Megan Garber at The Atlantic points out, Mars Explorer Barbie — part of the "I Can Be" line of Barbie dolls — has a pink helmet and a pink "spacepack." And:

The doll's packaging features a glittery Martian landscape with the Curiosity rover (also pink) in the foreground and the Earth in the distance. (The Earth is one of the few items included that is not pink.)

The official statement from Mattel says Barbie is "ready to add her signature pink splash to the Red Planet." Sigh. It's cool that Barbie has so many careers, and that "astronaut" is the Career Of The Year for 2013. If a little girl plays with this and dreams of exploring space, that is great. But pink continues to be this weird gender-specific pigeonholing of girlhood, cementing the idea that females of the species must be ornamental, pretty and feminine. There are real women who are astronauts, washing their hair in space as we speak, and it's a job that requires brains and dedication, not cute accessories. Women remain underrepresented in STEM careers, and let's not forget — there was a time that NASA didn't want girls in space. Wouldn't Barbie be taken more seriously in a realistic blue or orange jumpsuit? Kinda wish they'd just make an action figure out of Abigail Harrison.

[The Atlantic, Space.com]