Life in plastic, it’s fantastic! How the Barbie movie analyses the male psyche, reimagines our whole childhood in a feminist lens and WHY it became the movie the entire world is talking about. A movie review if you will.
*Note: SPOILERS are in this article so if you don’t want to have the best movie experience ruined, skip (or read anyways, up to you!)*
REIMAGINING OUR CHILDHOOD BARBIE
We all played with barbies as kids, or at least had a friend who had a Barbie, right? Over the years Mattel has expanded their Barbie collection and with the introduction of a new movie we are TRULY showing that Barbie is in all of us. Barbie represents women taking a stand and exerting their autonomy of choice. Being a mom, being a politician, being anything really. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, how you look or what the people say you should be.
As children we often had one conventional view of Barbie, similar looking to Margot Robbie who herself acknowledged in press interviews that she fits the so called ‘barbie beauty standard.’ Through the diversification of Barbie’s people are now able to look up to these different versions and find solace in representation.
Sure, this movie isn’t necessarily a happy go lucky rom com type of beat or the cliche plot line where Barbie ends up falling for Ken…but that’s what makes it special. That’s what makes Greta Gerwig’s Barbie REAL. Barbie doesn’t end up falling for Ken. It reduces the watchers to tears and showcases society in the most heartbreaking yet beautiful way.
THE MALE PSYCHE AND THE PATRIARCHY
Through subtle humour, wit and sarcasm this movie delves into the male psyche. Why do men…men? In Barbie world, everything is reversed. Women hold positions of power, while the Ken’s are the ones who are overlooked. There is only ONE Allan in Barbie world, he represents the fraction of men who have the backs of women constantly. But let’s just think for a moment why there’s only one of him and thousands of Ken’s. A harsh reality. ‘There’s are no multiples of Allan, he’s just Allan.” To the men out there who are walking green flags, we love you, keep being a slay.
The Barbie world holds stark differences from ours. When Barbie and Ken rollerblade into the ‘real’ world, the difference is unimaginable, yet realistic. While Ken feels empowered, uplifted and strong due to the men surrounding him, Barbie feels insecurity for the first time as she is catcalled, embarrassed and treated more like an object than a human being. The day-to-day bullshit women have to deal with portrayed in the shortest scene.
So what does Greta try to paint about the patriarchy through her film? Well, the film certainly presents the ironies of patriarchy. Ken grows to love horses and war in the real world, thriving off toxic masculinity and an inflated ego. The real world caters primarily to men, they aren’t taught to perceive with as much emotion and the patriarchy is clearly something that needs to be demolished piece by piece. While Barbie finds this shocking, somehow Ken feels ‘at home’ and to sum things up; becomes an asshole. We then look at Barbie Land, a world where females are more powerful than men. They live at peace, hold roles of leadership and have much more safety and fun than women in the real world ever would.
But, through Ken, Greta beautifully showcases that despite all the Barbie’s thriving, the Ken’s are lost in Barbie Land with no purpose. Stuck with the belief that Barbie NEEDS him (which she doesn’t) and that he has no other purpose in life. The overlookers have become overlooked. There is no patriarchy. As Taylor Swift once very wisely said; fuck the patriarchy. At the end of the film when Ken loses himself entirely going from the real world back to Barbie land, Barbie teaches him he has to learn to identify himself without her. It shows that FEMINISM is good for BOTH men and women, It isn’t anti-male, rather it shows that men have always been privileged and society through feminism isn’t just uplifting women, it’s uplifting EVERYONE. Men too are allowed to cry and need to separate themselves from the toxic ideals society has built–as Barbie said to Ken, “you NEED to find who you are without me.” Queen shit.
Long story short, the movie shows that there has to be some sort of balance. Barbie is Barbie and Ken is Ken. Every Barbie deserves equal rights and a platform to advocate, slay and girlboss and it’s shown too that Ken is KENOUGH!
FEMINISM, POWER, WOMEN
Of course, having been directed by Greta Gerwig, this movie screams everything about feminism, power and women. Gloria’s iconic speech about why simply existing as a female is so difficult is a tear jerker for sure. “It is literally impossible to be a woman. Like we have to always be extraordinary. But somehow we’re always doing it wrong.” The constant double standards we face day-to-day and growing up knowing these are things we simply have to live with. You can be thin but not too skinny, have some weight but not be ‘fat.’ You should be a mom, oh but you should also be a career-woman…so on and so forth. Is it really fair that simply EXISTING is so hard?
There’s a scene at a bus shelter where Barbie learns to experience emotion for the first time. The tears cascade down her face from her eyes as she absorbs humans simply being humans. The concepts of time, death and reality are all new to her. An old woman sitting next to her smiles and Barbie exclaims; “You’re beautiful.” Once again, things society has constructed to be ‘less beautiful,’ such as age, are all foreign concepts to Barbie. We see that women can age, women can look how they want, women can want to be mothers, politicians or anything in between and they still deserve love regardless.
WHY EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEE IT
To the women, mothers and girls out there–this movie will empower, uplift and resonate with you in ways you didn’t even know you needed! “We mothers stand still so that our daughters can look back and see how far they’ve come.” For the moms who perhaps grew up a little too fast and the daughters who forget constantly that their moms were once little girls too. You know what? That and Billie Eilish’s song at the end will do it, it’s a tearjerker for sure. And ladies, THIS is the perfect date idea. Take your partner and see how they respond. If they’re a man, the ways in which they react will establish truly how much of a green, red or beige flag they are. Dress up in pink, have deep delved discussions or simply sit and laugh with the rest of the audience. Maybe you can pull the classic TikTok trend of ‘the Barbenheimer effect’ and go watch both films back to back. Wear a black suit with a pink tutu underneath.
Seriously, Greta Gerwig’s masterpiece HAS to be seen by everyone. You’ll get an entire movie theatre of people dressed in pink, sparkles and feathers…embracing their inner child and ready to ride this rollercoaster of a movie known as ‘Barbie.’ Maybe once you walk out you’ll have a similar encounter to people around the world where girls look at other girls and simply yell; HI BARBIE!