In recent years, California-based toy company Mattel has made conscious efforts to create Barbie dolls that represent a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. But Barbie’s diversity woes aren’t over yet, as Mattel failed to create an African-American doll for its newly released Game Developer Barbie.
Back in 2013, the company released its first version of the doll (Computer Engineer Barbie), which critics deemed overtly “sexist” because Barbie relied heavily on her male co-workers to complete her work.
“Your robot puppy is so sweet. Can I play your game?,” Barbie’s friend Skipper asks in the Mattel-created children’s book, which features the computer engineer doll.
“I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie responds. “I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game.”
Fast forward three years and Mattel has launched an updated version of the doll (Game Developer Barbie) to inspire young girls to pursue careers in the tech industry, Daily Mail reports.
There’s a problem, however; the doll comes in no other race besides Caucasian.
That’s where game developer Marcus Montgomery comes in. Montgomery began his hunt for the now sold out doll after his wife, who is also a game developer, informed him that she wanted one. To his disappointment, Montgomery was unable to find a Game Developer Barbie that resembled his wife. So, he took it upon himself to make a few changes.
The game developer created a custom version of the doll, dressing up a Black Fashionista Barbie in the techie clothes and accessories of new Game Developer Barbie. Montgomery posted his “updated” doll on Twitter for the world to see.
My wife wanted the new #gamedev @Barbie but it only came in one skin tone. I fixed the problem. #wearegamedevs pic.twitter.com/JqnPNbZqmq
— Marcus Montgomery (@marcusingames) June 22, 2016
Montgomery’s efforts to increase diversity and the visibility of Black women didn’t start with his custom creation. According to Blavity, he’s also the founder of a digital platform called We Are Game Devs, which seeks to celebrate diversity in the game development and tech industry.
“The mission of We Are Game Devs is to celebrate the diverse talent of the video game industry,” the website states. “Our goal is to feature artists, game designers, programmers and producers through candid conversation about the craft, business and culture of the video game industry.”
Fellow Twitter users applauded Montgomery’s “new” Barbie and his efforts for better race representation.
See a problem, find a solution, publish it so others can see/benefit.
Yup, dev. Bravo, sir! https://t.co/aQhtK5ibV5
— Militant Bibliophile (@MilBibliophile) June 22, 2016
— ~*winky face*~ (@mrmoneda) June 22, 2016
@marcusingames That game dev is such a prominent job, that they even made a Barbie for that. The new stars and your wife is one too.
— Claudio Zizza (@SenseException) June 22, 2016
His wife was pretty ecstatic, too, as she finally had her own African-American Game Developer Barbie.