The Barbie Movie is For You

Yes, you. I know it’s Very Pink (it caused a shortage of the color!), and yes, it is based on a doll that has faced criticism for possessing idealized beauty and what that effect could have on young children.

But I’m here to tell you why it IS for you, in three succinct counterpoints (I also understand you’re a person-on-the-go and time is valuable!).

  • You didn’t play with Barbies at all and aren’t particularly fond of Barbie’s favored color palette.

That’s fair! But even if you didn’t play with Barbies (for whatever reason), the movie addresses both what is bad about Barbie (the consumerism she inspires) and what is good about Barbie (she went to space before women could even have their own credit cards). Those things are universal to all sorts of toys, and those messages extend beyond Barbie. Basically, not playing with Barbie as a child doesn’t mean you can’t take something meaningful from the overarching messages of the movie.

As for all the pink, I can assure you there are scenes in it that aren’t so overwhelmingly fuschia.

  • You heard it's anti-man and that just doesn’t sit right with you.

I’m going to be completely straight with you: this movie is not anti-man. Rather, it explores the differences in how men and women are socialized, and gives a lens of female friendships as opposed to male friendships. There is not one line slandering the male gender, I pinky-swear. It does explore patriarchal beliefs but in a palatable way. I don’t want to give you a spoiler, since I’m trying to convince you to see the movie. It’s thought-provoking for any gender.  

  • Barbie has harmful beauty standards and you don’t want to encourage unhealthy and unattainable ideals.

Barbie is thin, blonde, and blue-eyed. She has a history of promoting some seriously questionable diets. I bring this up because it’s already out there and circulating, not because I want to stack these things against Barbie. The thing is, the doll in question came out in the 1960s, and she was hardly the only one to produce such an image for women and young girls. There was a wine and eggs diet popular in the same decade, too. Now, Barbie is way more inclusive. There are 9 different body types and 35 different hairstyles. There are Barbies with wheelchairs, not-so-thin Barbies, a Barbie with Downs-syndrome, and a Barbie with vitiligo. Most of these types of Barbies appear IN the movie, too, and who doesn’t want to see themselves represented while also having fun and being happy?
TL/DR: Barbie WAS that way, but she was the norm and not the exception when it comes to promoting those types of things. Now we know better, so we do better.

In conclusion, even if I haven't convinced you, I still think you should see it to decide if I have any interesting points. At the very least, I hope I've given you something to think about.

Want more Barbie? Check out these lists of books below!

Books Barbie Would Read

List created by MinkM

Barbie is a fabulous, free-spirited career woman. Her reading list would be the ideal mix of happily-ever-afters, sage advice, and philosophical ideas to help her navigate life.

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Barbie's Dream Book List!

List created by Nikki_Wonderbrarian

Barbie's had many different careers in her lifetime. Here's a YA book rec for some of her more "interesting" or niche roles for you to read just in time to see her star in her new movie!

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