Let’s Talk About The Barbie Movie *Warning Spoilers*
A pretty shade of pink, some glitz and glam, and a healthy dose of nostalgia; okay fine I’ll see Barbie. I even took out my pink Barbie jacket from my younger days that has Barbie’s pink convertible car on it. - I expected hints of feminism, because hey it’s Hollywood; but instead was met with an onslaught. I’m pretty sure the word “patriarchy” was used about fifty times throughout the movie. In my opinion, The Barbie Movie was anti-authentic femininity, marketed and masqueraded with a pink bow.
The movie opens with a scene of little girls playing with baby dolls, pretending to iron, and seemingly playing “Mommy the homemaker.” Sweet and innocent, the scene quickly turns sour as a giant “Barbie” appears. Once the little girls notice Barbie, they begin destroying their baby dolls, by kicking them, tearing at them, and smacking them on the ground; seemingly referencing the fact that baby dolls are outdated and now it’s time to play with Barbie’s. The baby doll’s heads fly through the air, and the opening credits begin to roll. A scene with all the various careers Barbie can have follows, with motherhood being left out. All I can think about is our anti-life culture, and how the scene with the little girls tearing about their baby dolls in favor of “Barbie” further perpetuates that false narrative. The innocent heart of a little girl cares tenderly for her baby dolls, and the depiction of them destroying them, does not sit right with the spirit.
The society that says “It’s just a movie” or “It’s not that serious” is the same society that says “It’s just a life in the womb, just kill it.” Nothing matters to those that life doesn’t even matter to. The notion that “nothing matters” is false, and the anti-gospel. For Christ tells us that everything will have to be accounted for. “And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” - Hebrews 4:13
A movie like Barbie, which has mega marketing, and is generating billions of dollars, should be taken seriously because the target audience is impressionable young girls, who are all going to see it and be influenced by the messages in the movie. Everyone is aware of the influence on the general public the mainstream media has, therefore the content of films that have a large influence should be taken seriously.
There’s a scene in the film where the angsty teenage girl who’s dressed like a boy, says to Barbie “You’re the reason why women hate themselves.” Seemingly a jab at the blonde, pretty, pink-loving, girly Barbie. Another quote from the movie is “Women hate women, men hate women.” There’s a monologue towards the end of the movie about how hard it is to be a woman and how nothing is ever enough. I was thinking, geez, you need to get yourself to Mass and find some interior peace with yourself. This movie is rated PG-13, and those first years as a teenage girl are so tender and fragile, which arises the question of "Why isn’t the true beauty of womanhood being shown to girls? Why are anger and hatred against our womanhood being portrayed?" They say "Women are oppressed, women are hated" Why is this the message being sent to young women? Why not show the beauty of being a woman? The beauty of true femininity in light of the truth of who God created us to be? If nobody told a young girl to hate her authentic femininity, would she? Why the push to make girls hang up their princess dresses? Why not let them spin? This movie had the potential to be light-hearted, innocent, and fun. An opportunity for women to celebrate and reminisce on their girlhood, dress up in their favorite pink outfits, and have a joyful experience with their girlfriends; but instead it was a movie that made me remember why I seldom watch secular movies because I’d rather stay in a state of grace and refrain from two hours of false indoctrination aiming to make me hate my womanhood masqueraded as “comedy.”
Barbie is referred to as “stereotypical Barbie” throughout the movie. There’s a heavy implication that the way Barbie looks is why women hate themselves because they can’t live up to the “doll” potential. I think this starts the conversation of an important point that if your identity and self-worth are not rooted in God, and who He says you are, you will fall so far into deception, that you will even let a doll make you feel “less than.” Gee, when I was a child we just played with Barbie’s and loved to dress her up in pretty clothes. There was no other thought behind it, besides making Barbie look pretty in her new wardrobe. The feminine heart craves being beautiful, and the overall messaging of “stereotypical Barbie” making women hate themselves, is turning the innocent fun we had as children into something it never was in the first place.
In the movie, there is a “pregnant Barbie” who is discontinued” and “banished” from Barbie Land, who stands all by herself in the corner not partaking in any of the hoopla of the Barbie world. There’s a comment made about why she’s discontinued, yet the ending credits show Barbie’s little sister doll, so obviously children can be had in “Barbie Land.” There are sprinkles of “You can be just a mother” mentioned in the film, which seem to be placed there as a “You can’t say this film is anti-motherhood, we said you can be just a mother!” Yet the general content, speaks otherwise. There’s a scene where a Ken asks to “be on the Supreme Court” of Barbie Land, and President Barbie says something to the notion of “Absolutely not, you can have a lower level job.” Constant insinuations of how “men rule the world” further fuel the false feminist agenda, hatred of masculinity, and anti-traditional family narrative. Everyone knows that Barbie and Ken are a pair, but in the movie, Barbie doesn’t even like Ken and turns him down, which further pushes the false “I’m independent and don’t need a man” narrative.
I think the overall question I have (and this is a rhetorical question, I’m hoping you as a devout Catholic already know the answer to this) is “Why can’t we have a feminine, light-hearted movie that shows the beauty of being a woman without a negative connotation and a feminist agenda added to it? Why is simply resting in our womanhood the way God created it to be not enough? Why is the message that authentic femininity will make you hated constantly being told to young girls?”
Aren’t we tired of all the ugliness? The anti-life, anti-motherhood, anti-femininity?
Don’t we crave beauty? A beautiful life, a beautiful season of motherhood, beautiful femininity? When’s the last time you’ve seen a wholesome television show or movie with a hard-working father and a homemaking mother happily married with more than three children? Why don’t we see any shows or movies depicting this?
To end on a positive note, the outfits in the movie are fun and feminine, Barbie is beautiful and looks pretty in pink, and the set design is aesthetically pleasing and girly. If only the movie could have maintained this light-hearted tone throughout, without the added agenda behind it, it potentially could have been a fun film, to reminisce on the memories of our girlhood, when we played innocently played with Barbie.