Barbie's copped a lot of flak in recent years for being a bad role model because she perpetuates an unrealistic standard of beauty with measurements so unrealistic that if she were a real person she wouldn't be able to walk upright, but I think this is a little harsh - she's just a toy after all, and we don't condemn Transformers for setting an unrealistic example when a little boy says he wants to be a firetruck when he grows up. Barbie is a plaything, a blank slate for kids to project their fantastical imagined scenarios onto, or a tool for hairdressing practice (guilty, there was many a scalped Barbie doll in my house when I was a kid).
Over the past 56 years Barbie's built herself a pretty impressive résumé, she's been a doctor, a veterinarian, a Formula One driver, an Olympian in a number of different sports, a presidential candidate (six times), an architect, a computer engineer, a ballerina, an actress, and a business executive, as well as 140 other things. If Barbie's numerous career paths doesn't tell our children that girls can be literally anything they want to be, then I don't know what does. Barbies clearly got a lot of motivation to succeed in any field she tries her hand at, and I think that makes her a pretty great role model.