The Weekly Geek: Barbie gets geeky


Oscar season is always exciting for movie geeks — this year, especially so, since sci-fi films were well represented (Avatar and District 9 were both in the running for best picture). Somehow, something even better happened — Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman in history to win an Academy Award for best director — and best picture.

So, The Hurt Locker may not exactly be a geek fest, but Bigelow has a storied history of making nerd-friendly films. If you’ve never seen her 1987 horror masterpiece Near Dark, you should go Netflix that ASAP. Even better (at least for guilty pleasure purposes) is the classic Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves “epic” Point Break — the best movie about surfing robbers ever made, hands down. Another cult/geek favorite in her filmography is Strange Days, which, in my opinion, competes with Lawnmower Man for best virtual reality schlock of the mid ’90s.

Strange Days

I offer my humble congratulations to Bigelow for the honor — and also to Sandra Bullock, for being the first person to win a Razzie (raspberry award, for “worst actress”) and an Oscar in the same year.

The other biggest news of the week was almost as exciting. Nerdy girls, get ready for Computer Engineer Barbie — complete with a pink laptop and totally cute pink glasses.

The new for 2010 Barbie won the popular vote (the “girls vote” went to News Anchor Barbie), and despite the fact that I was more of a Legos and action figures girl growing up, I am positively tickled by how cool this is. Once upon a time, Barbie was just another pretty face with perfect curves. Now, she’s a totally hot computer scientist — and I, for one, think it’s a very good thing for little girls to see.

Of course, she’s so into pink that there’s been controversy, but I’m with Rebecca Zook of Mashable, who wrote this insightful post on Barbie’s newest career:

While some have embraced coder Barbie, others have attacked the concept, saying that her pink laptop, sparkly leggings, and trendy glasses are “too feminine” to be realistic. The critics imply that real coders aren’t feminine, and feminine coders aren’t real. But women shouldn’t feel like they have to stop being feminine to work in technology.

She notes that the very first programmer, Ada Lovelace was a woman — and a total fashion diva to boot:

This false dichotomy — that you have to choose between being feminine and ‘looking the part’ of a mathematician or scientist — might be part of what turns girls off from math and science in the first place … As a female math tutor, I used to feel the need to “tone down” my feminine style. I’d wear black slacks when working with my students for fear of appearing “unprofessional.” But then I decided to show my true fashion colors and wear my homemade dresses and sparkly barrettes when tutoring.

Since then, some kids have been openly relieved when they met me and found I didn’t look like their stereotype of a math tutor. The “math geek” stereotype in their brains was more intimidating and less fun than the real-life tutor wearing fuzzy pink boots.”

See? It’s ok to love “girly” fashion and computers, young ladies. Don’t believe the haters.

Zergnet Code