"I'm just going to write because I can't help it."- Charlotte Brontë

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Outer Space Just Got Pinker

As an addendum to yesterday's post, I've just discovered that to commemorate the first anniversary of Curiosity's landing on Mars, NASA has teamed up with Mattel to create the Mars Explorer Barbie.

I do like the fact that after luring the little girls in with much pinkness and rover cuteness:

The packaging art also includes a list of facts about the history of American women space explorers, plus a link to the space agency's Women@NASA website.

I'm not a great fan of pink myself (though I understand that historically, it was once viewed as a powerful, vibrant colour before being demoted to a weak, "female" shade, but now seems to be swinging back and climbing the ranks as it is defiantly embraced and empowered again. Humans are funny creatures, imbuing the merest things with meaning according to societal trends and then using those templates to take shortcuts when thinking.) Anyway, anything that says space exploration is not just for boys, that girls can do these things too and do them their own way with feminine sass and flair if they choose (and not, if they also choose) can only be a good thing.

 I hope this means we'll soon see little girls unselfconsciously playing space launches and landings in their bedrooms and racing their spacesuited dolls at breakneck speeds around the lounge room coffee table in pink exploration buggies. I hope to see them organising tea parties in back yards for Barbie, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity, and the five of them, whilst eating pretend scones, discussing with aplomb the difficulties of setting up a Martian colony.

And if, as they grow older, these girls look up at a starry sky and see that the universe, which doesn't give a hoot about human politics, is actually a cool, gender-neutral place full of wondrous challenges, then I'd say Barbie's job is done.


Anonymous said...

You'll be pleased to know the theme of this year's Book Week is "Reading Across the Universe." No Barbies required! Have been instructed to make astronaut costume for the Small One. Fishbowl helmet, here we come.


Gitte Christensen said...

I am pleased! Playing with dolls is good (I hankered after a Barbie myself when I was teeny) but reading is far, far better. And obviously Book Week is successfully inspiring the littlies. The Small One will make a brilliant astronaut, I'm sure.

Making a fishbowl helmet, however, sounds daunting - good luck with that.