How Barbie became a movie about female empowerment

Barbie doesn’t have a story.

That was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard they were making a Barbie movie.
Barbie is simply a doll without a storyline. She’s not like Cinderella with her fairy godmother or Sleeping beauty and the curse, or Snow White and the dwarfs.
Barbie is just a doll, and her owner gets to decide her story.

So why make a Barbie movie?

And then came the first images from the movie, and I cringed even harder. Ryan Gosling with his blond hair, pink, pink and even more pink everywhere. I rolled my eyes at it like probably a lot of us did (or are doing with the movie now).

But somehow, a couple of days ago, I found myself wearing pink and going to the cinema to see Barbie.

My opinion about the Barbie movie started to change when I learnt Greta Gerwig was one of the writers, and the director of the movie. I knew surely feminist Greta wouldn’t put her name on a movie that objectified women, and glorified gender stereotypes.
Then of course came all the PR about the movie, the trailer, and all the pink on the timeline and I knew I surely had to watch the movie. And I had to do it in pink. Lol. Because why watch Barbie if you are not wearing pink?! 😀

Guys, I loveedddd this movie!! If there was a better adjective to describe my feelings about it, I would use it. I love what Greta Gerwig did with the story.

I left the cinema all smiles and asking myself- How did Barbie become a movie about female empowerment, patriarchy, and all the things wrong with the way the world views and treat women?
How did this icon of unrealistic beauty standards, the doll that arguably popularized the tall, thin and white female body ideal, how did that doll become an icon of female empowerment?

Well, I guess that’s the beauty and magic of Barbie. And apparently, that was what the originator of the Barbie dolls had initially intended when she came up with the idea.  

The loved the brilliant monologues, the quips at gender and patriarchy, the ridiculousness of some of the scenes in Barbie land most importantly, I loved the overall message. I love how a powerful message about women empowerment can be woven into something that appears so silly, yet it ends up getting its point across beautifully and doing it so well.

I was literally jotting down quotes and taking notes in the cinema. The dialogues were meaningful and beautifully written. It was almost like there was a message behind every word that was spoken.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie: “Even if you can’t make it perfect, you can make it better” sums up my view on feminism and the feminist movement. A lot of times when I discuss the ills of the world with my friends ( and anyone willing to listen), there’s a lot of acknowledgement that things are wrong, but then I also hear a lot of resignation. Statements like “Men and women can never be equal”,” it is an unrealistic goal”, “That’s just the way the world is”…
My response to that is to ask if that means we have to stop trying to make the world better? I say the fact that we cannot envision a world where gender equality is a reality does not mean we have to stop working and fighting to tip the equality scale, even just the slightest, in our lifetime. It doesn’t mean we don’t work to put as many cracks as we possibly can in that glass ceiling . it doesn’t mean we accept the status quo. Because if the women of the past had accepted the status quo, I probably wouldn’t have the education or resources to be writing this blog post right now.

There are lots of takeaways from this movie. America Ferrera’s monologue voiced all my thoughts about how skewed up societal expectations for women are. The Ken storyline portrays how men themselves can be victims of patriarchy. There were also references to racism, mental health challenges of the twenty-first century, family, friendship, and leadership. Overall, it was a good watch.

We always have to be extraordinary, but somehow, we’re always doing it wrong…You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never show fear, never get out of line. It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you!

– Gloria (Played by America Ferrera) in Barbie

I also love all the Barbie PR, fanfare, outfit inspos and social media hypes, lol. It almost feels like the world is falling in love with pink again and I am here for it. Pink is a beautiful color and I am all for smashing the stereotype of pink being just for “little girls”. Because it’s okay for any gender to love pink, no matter how old they are. You can wear pink and be a boss lady. You can wear pink and be a manly man. You can wear pink and be a feminist. And you can be a little girl and hate pink too. That’s okay!

At the risk of spoiling the movie for you all, I will sum it up by saying- You absolutely need to go watch it! And while you are at it, throw in a pink outfit or at least a touch of pink, because why not 😉

Leave a Reply