Barbie: A feminist’s fairytale with cringy animations, reverse sexism, and lots of pink glitter

Eberechukwu Etike
The Barbie movie is for and by women with a sprinkle of reverse sexist pink glitters

Barbie, the iconic pink doll enchanting generations of young girls, takes an unexpected turn in the 21st-century movie adaptation. Ignore the marketing efforts backing the movie’s release; it has indeed captivated viewers and left them pondering the message it seeks to convey.

The famous doll represents much more than a toy. It symbolizes a world of imagination where a child can find happiness, friendship, and confidence. After all, if Barbie can be anything and look like anything in the plastic world, why can’t similar possibilities exist in the real world?

Fans may have expected the movie to portray its traditional soft and childlike charm. However, it defies expectations by addressing pressing societal issues satirically, sparking discussions about feminism and sexism.

The movie takes viewers through women’s empowerment, individuality and uniqueness, self-realization, and controversies not far from reverse sexism.

About the movie

  • Time length: 1 hour, 54 minutes
  • Director: Greta Gerwig
  • Writers: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
  • Stars: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae

The Plot

As the title suggests, the story begins in the pure and idyllic world of Barbie Land, where Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) flourishes. In Barbie Land, secrets are unheard of, and women (all of them are Barbies, by the way) come together to support and uplift one another, portraying a perfectly harmonious existence.

The initial scenes offer a glimpse into these Barbies‘ seemingly flawless life. Barbie Land is a feminist’s dream, where women can be anything that they want to be and men (the Kens) are second-class citizens,

If this perfect life had continued for a couple more minutes, it would have been a boring movie, but it needed a solid plot, and the tensions arose when the characters moved to the real world. Here, we see Stereotypical Barbie confront the stark realities of life outside the plastic confines of Barbie Land.

The Barbie movie is for and by women with a sprinkle of reverse sexist pink glitters

As she gains self-awareness, consciousness, and anxiety, she understands the harsh truth: being a woman in the real world comes with the challenges of sexualization and even objectification.

Life outside plastic is not so fantastic afterall.

The movie takes an introspective turn as the Kens realize the power they possess as men, inadvertently uncovering the workings of a patriarchal system.

Overall, this movie offers an intriguing exploration of the clash between two worlds: the perfect, artificial utopia of Barbie Land and the raw realities of the real world. Although, this raises some questions about gender roles, societal expectations, and the ever-relevant influence of the patriarchy.

Read Also: Dune II, Aquaman, Barbie, and 12 other movies to look out for in the second half of 2023

A controversial pill for society to swallow

The Barbie movie is for and by women with a sprinkle of reverse sexist pink glitters

Under the pink, sparkles, and glitters that Barbie is known for, Director Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach used the movie to delve into the struggles faced by women while portraying men in a stereotypical light.

Although the movie showcases strong women, the male characters depend entirely on their female counterparts, painting an intriguing, albeit opposite, reality from our own. At the story’s heart, the main character, Stereotypical Barbie, sees herself as a figure to be admired, while Stowaway Ken (Ryan Gosling) perceives himself as a mere strand of hair in her world.

It’s a world of imagination, but as the plot unravels, we witness the role reversal in the real world, reflecting how gender norms and societal expectations influence their experiences. Stereotypical Barbie discovers the trials of womanhood, while Stowaway Ken experiences the privileges associated with patriarchy.

The Barbie movie is for and by women with a sprinkle of reverse sexist pink glitters

The movie boldly addresses the struggles women face, one that will resonate well with many viewers. It further highlights the impossible expectations placed on modern women, urging Barbie to embrace her imperfections.

However, as Stowaway Ken returns to Barbie’s Land, he carries with him the ideologies of patriarchy, leading to the subjugation and objectification of women. At the end of the movie, everything returns slightly back to normal. Barbie Land becomes a sanctuary for women, offering little room for the male characters, highlighting an imbalance that challenges traditional notions.

The film’s portrayal of gender dynamics may spark debate, prompting some to question if ‘Barbie‘ is a sexist movie. If the roles were reversed and a male director depicted women in the same light, would society react differently? This aspect adds depth to the movie’s message and encourages viewers to introspect on the prevailing gender biases in our society.

What we think…

In this Barbie movie, the story is crammed with various dance scenes and musical numbers that, unfortunately, feel like mere fillers with little substance. The film tries to strike a balance between being funny and self-conscious, but it sometimes feels restrained, lacking the daring humour it occasionally achieves.

One of the movie’s downsides is its disjointed and uneven flow, making it somewhat predictable and lacking surprises. Using some animations also comes across as cringy and doesn’t blend seamlessly with the overall narrative.

However, amidst its shortcomings, there are exciting elements worth mentioning. The references to iconic movies like “The Wizard of Oz” add a nostalgic touch and parallel Barbie’s journey in a charming way. Moreover, the representation of scenes inspired by “The Matrix” brings an interesting twist, where the protagonist faces life-changing decisions.

Lastly, what was the final scene all about? That sounded like an expensive joke.

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