Back in 1992, Mattel released a line of "Teen Talk Barbies". They were designed with a chip that could say 4 phrases from a total of 270 possible phrases. "Let's go shopping!" and "Wanna have a pizza party?" are some sample phrases. One phrase however, greatly upset the American Association of University Women. "Math class is tough." Only about 1.5% of the dolls said this phrase, but that was too many as far as groups were concerned so Mattel removed the phrase and offered trade-ins on the dolls with the offending sentence.
Where this story gets entertaining, to me at least is that some groups decided to send a different message. The voice chips of some Barbies, were switched with the voice chips of some GI Joes so that boys received tough burly dolls asking "Will we ever have enough clothes?" and some girls received Barbies that discussed fighting Cobra.
Now, I fully support the idea behind this act. It sickens me when I see a toy store divided into "boy" toys and "girl" toys. I think kids should be free to play with whatever toys they find fun. I also agree with the women who protested the doll for implying that girls are bad at math. However I think that this sends that message far more than a doll saying "Math class is tough." After all, maybe Barbie is so good at math that she's in an advanced multi-variable calculus class. Maybe Barbie is capable of doing the work, but wants it acknowledged that the work she's doing in difficult. Maybe I should stop procrastinating and finish my math homework. My really tough math homework.