GoldieBlox Toys Steer Girls to Engineering; Ad Goes Viral (Video)

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 07:24 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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GoldieBlox, a toy startup that features a series of interactive books and gadgets meant to introduce girls to the world of engineering, has gone viral since releasing a new ad called "Princess Machine" last week.

Created in 2012 by Debbie Sterling, a 30-year-old Stanford-trained engineer, GoldieBlox's products incorporate storytelling and engineering in a way that appeals to young girls.

"We just want girls to be able to use their brains a little more," Sterling told "We don't have a national shortage of princesses, but we do have a national shortage of engineers."

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And according to the Kauffman Foundation, there really is a shortage. The entrepreneurship and education-focused organization found that women make up less than 18 percent of total bachelor's degrees in computer sciences and engineering.

"That’s exactly what I'm trying to fight against — this elitist, male-dominated world of engineering," Sterling told the Washington Post. "There's a certain bravado of sorts that you must have an IQ of 'x' to enter. There’s a real aggressive competitiveness that I experienced in a lot of my engineering classes… [With GoldieBlox] we’re trying in general to make it not so intimidating."

The new ad, "Princess Machine," pokes fun at toys and things "traditionally" meant for girls — tea sets, baby dolls, Barbies, and anything and everything pink.

In the clip, three GoldieBlox girls who are fed up with the conventional stereotypes of little girls construct a domino-effect maze using pulleys, levers, and moving balls. A re-jiggered version of the Beastie Boys' 1987 hit "Girls" plays in the background.

"We are all more than princess maids!" the song goes.

"All I can say is that it's about bleeping time we see at least a prototype ad encouraging girls to explore different things that help them create and grow, rather than infantilize them (where the concern is about pleasing others through domesticity and physical beauty)," one YouTube user commented on the commercial.

"Excellent toy for engineers that have little girls at home. It's important to give more options for girls to play with," another posted.

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