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Pretty (and smart) in pink? 'Entrepreneur Barbie' raises eyebrows

Like other small business owners, Entrepreneur Barbie is sure to face hurdles getting her operation off the ground.

Indeed, there's a lot of buzz already about Mattel Inc.'s 150th career version of the world's most famous doll, and it's not all kind.

The dress is, of course, pink, with an asymmetrical neckline and black off the shoulders. And she's brandishing not only a wireless device, but also a spreadsheet. And, she's got a LinkedIn profile.

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(In Canada, of course, small business has been railing against the changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers program. Whatever will Barbie do when she has to pay her workers top dollar?)

No doubt Entrepreneur Ken would earn more, and he wouldn't have to do the housework.

Some facts and comments:

Barbie (the brand, not the physical doll) is showing her age, with global sales down 14 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

Jo Davies in The Guardian: "No doubt the suits at Mattel will tell us that it's just their current celebration of the businesswoman stereotype that Barbie models herself on, an inspirational doll for young girls to look up to. But tell me, how many true entrepreneurial women are supermodel thin, have luscious locks, pearly white teeth and pert boobs as well as a brain and a successful career? Because the problem with Barbie is no matter what she's doing, the thing she's really telling young girls is that you can be anything, as long as you look good first."

Clarie Cohen in The Telegraph: "And, actually, that message is a positive one. After all, the new wave of feminism is all about being who you want to be; whether that's wearing high heels, or petitioning against sexism. Or both. So why can't Entrepreneur Barbie wear pink? In this refusal to sway to public pressure, is it possible that she might actually have become a feminist after all?

Alicia Adamczyk in Forbes: "Despite the 150-job resume Barbie touts on her LinkedIn page, a study released in March of this year by Oregon State University found that girls who play with Barbie dolls see fewer career options for themselves than for boys – even if they played with the 'career-focused, doctor version of the doll.'"

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From Mattel, on a June 2014 survey: "70 per cent of Canadian women entrepreneurs believed that anything was possible when they were a young girl."

Linda Lacina in Entrepreneur: "Right now, Barbie is the only known Molded American to join the career site (neither Jem nor her Holograms have joined, nor any of the My Little Ponies). Technically, this is just a showcase page for Mattel but currently, she has 984 human followers, placing her in the top half of LinkedIn users, safely in the realm of 'serious networkers.' This is a reminder to us real people that it is likely time to step it up as far as our own online networking is concerned.

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