Not another Barbie Review!
I don’t think there is much left to say that hasn’t already been said about the Barbie film. But I am still basking in all its perfectly sound tracked glory. What a hilarious and vibrant comment on modern society, toxic masculinity and not to mention the heroine’s journey Arc Barbie experiences towards wholeness. With so much to learn from and process with this sugar-coated satire it deserves at least a second viewing, no wonder it is the largest grossing film for any female director.
For those of you who have not seen it yet; The film opens in Barbie land, an alternate plastic reality ruled by Barbies, President, Astronaut or journalist Barbie by day, dance party Barbie by night; “Barbie has a great day every day, but Ken only has a great day if Barbie looks at him” However, the most popular Barbie (Margot Robbie) begins experiencing an existential crisis and must travel to the human world in order to understand herself and discover her true purpose in order to reverse her new found cellulite. Ken (Ryan Gosling) tags along for the ride, learns about the Patriarchal system and implements it back in Barbie land brain washing the Barbies and creating havoc, leaving it up to Robbie to fix. Ken and Barbie are faced with harsh truths and make new friends along the road to their own personal enlightenment.
Be warned.. this film is by no means candy floss for the brain as the art direction would suggest, it raises important questions about masculinity and the patriarchy that will have you questioning your very reality. It’s a lot, in the absolute best possible way. The journey of Ken to ‘Kenough’, where he learns to exist outside of Barbie, was just as an important for men to swallow as it was for them to step into barbie’s pink stilettoes for a shiny moment. I myself saw the film with my husband who was very quiet on the drive home, when I asked him how he found the film, he quickly mentioned how he was struck by Gloria (America Ferrera) speech about being a woman; ‘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!” Some critics have said this speech is too on the nose but the Mom inside of me did a tiny internal dance while feeling totally validated by this moment of the film.
* Spoiler Alert *
However, the Ken’s were not only the antihero’s in the plot but in the end just obsolete in Barbies journey. As she rejects Ken and moves forward on her path, Greta explains ‘I’m so interested in trying to tell stories about women that don’t involve romantic components. That’s so much a part of the way we feel about female characters and their needs that it feels like it’s built in – but I’d like to find a way that it’s not. There are so many more stories than that.’
And if men are not the romantic hero, then who even are they? Disney has so much to answer for when it comes to women growing up believing they need a man or relationship to rescue or complete them. And men believing they need to rescue and be a hero. With the patriarchy potentially behind Disney too, Barbie land categorically needed to be created. As a place that women could achieve whatever they dreamed of in a supportive, fun and inclusive environment. When Barbie was created in 1959 by below 5 ft brunette Ruth Handler who dreamed of long legs and blond hair as well as creating the possibility of a future for her daughter and all women to grow up in where anything was possible. Barbie was actually a love letter to feminism before the patriarchy objectified her. As a mum myself I am constantly awear of my role in gender politics and how best i can raise a well adjusted son, all children need just as much guidance from a young age to avoid falling into these unfulfilling and potentially self destructive steriotypes set up by unrealistic and dangerous structures of society.
Here at Pop up painting not only is our co-founder is an under 5ft powerhouse mom, and we share similar aspirations as well as brand colours with the Mattel empire. Pop Up painting allows you to explore your free expressionist side, believing anyone can paint, create and achieve their artistic goals in our safe, fun and inclusive environment. With our snappy playlists and glass of Prosecco in hand we invite you to unleash your creativity and surpass your creative limits, before having your five minutes of fame on our stage while you present your carefully created masterpieces to the world (or our Facebook followers). The best kind of happy ever after!