Barbie: Dueling articles.

On the pro side is this essay at Bustle, which—in addition to talking about some of her history's more problematic aspects—also makes the case for the positive/groundbreaking elements of the line:

Even for a serious collector — which, even at a young age, I was — she was, and is, the only easily available grown-up doll around. Unless you count the small mother/wife dolls for your dollhouse family, dolls were (and are still) largely babies or young girls. The introduction of the Bratz and American Girls to the market has only recently expanded to include young teens.


It was an intensely powerful moment. Barbie allowed young girls to envisage adult relationships, jobs, developed personalities, even fantasies; the Barbie catalogs of the ’50s and ’60s contained dress-up characters for masquerade balls and plays. She came with an optional boyfriend accessory whose ensembles matched hers, not the other way around: Boys were definitely not the main point of her life. Barbie’s purpose was the best kind of elusive; her diverse wardrobe slipping from luncheon dates to gala gowns to wedding dresses without one look ever being definitive. She could, truly, be anything.

Buuuuuuuuuut, then, on the HOW IN THE WORLD DID THIS EVEN GET GREENLIT side, is Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer, which, according to the articles I've read, has a storyline that basically has Barbie doing everything BUT coding, including somehow ending up with a virus on her computer and having to get bailed out by her dude friends. I weep:

Later, after receiving instructions from her female computer-science teacher, Barbie tries fixing her computer alone. That's when the aforementioned Steven and Brian arrive and tell her that things will "go faster" if she lets them help. Ribon points out that while the book portrays them as perfectly nice dudes, they represent the actual systemic marginalization that she and countless other women have experienced in the tech industry.

And finally, on the WELL, THAT HAPPENED side: I just fell down the Fan-Created Barbie Fashions—Lucrezia Borgia! Cathy Earnshaw! Hazel Grace Lancaster!—Rabbit Hole.