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  • Marcy Kocher

Barbie

So, I saw the Barbie movie, and I have some thoughts.


Regardless of your opinion of her, she is an American icon.


She represents an ideal of fashion, beauty, dreams, and unrealistic perfection.


She has inspired and distorted our view of ourselves as women since 1959.


The Barbie movie honestly acknowledges this and, through clever humor, attempts to redeem some of the damage.


Has it accomplished this redemption?


I don’t know, but it certainly has us talking.



In Barbie Land, every Barbie is beautiful, happy, successful, and in charge.


I think Barbie Land is best described by author Yvonne Villarreal in her LA Times article as a feminist utopia.


However, through the magic of cinema, Barbie’s world intersects with ours, and she discovers a very different reality.


A reality most of us “real women” can identify with.


A reality that leads to stress, overwhelm, confusion, and exhaustion.


I feel compelled to share the very moving and poignant monologue given by Gloria to Barbie.


It is the message of the movie.


 

“It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.

You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman, but also always be looking out for other people. You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood. But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, 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! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.

I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.”


 

If you relate to any of this, you’re not alone.


That’s my purpose in sharing this.


And I believe that’s part of the reason for the movie's success.


Women resonate powerfully with this message.


Our culture has inundated us with this perfectionistic fantasy.


Yes, I will say it again, A FANTASY.


Barbie isn’t human.


We are.


And humans are not and never will be perfect, whatever that means.


But we are good enough no matter what anyone or any system tells us.


You. Are. Good.


And it’s time to be set free from the fantasy.


 

The Barbie movie is worth seeing.


It’s sweet, funny, and intelligent.


I would encourage you to see it, laugh out loud, talk about it, and let me know what you think.

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