BARBIE was amazing, perhaps not to actually watch for two hours, but as a phenomenon. But now the dust has settled, it’s definitely got problems you don’t have to be a bitter misogynist to notice.
Christ, not more ‘strong female role models’
In Barbieland, Kens are beach bums while Barbies do all the prestigious jobs: doctor, lawyer, politician. (Note the filmmakers’ incredibly conventional view of which jobs are worthwhile.) But how many role models do women need at this stage? Did they not see Captain Marvel, Mulan, Peter Pan & Wendy and everything Disney has made recently? Pay attention and become fighter pilots instead of meek little housewives, ladies.
Ignoring your own rules
Barbie’s existential crisis is caused by her owner’s middle-aged mum playing with her real-world counterpart in a negative, regretful frame of mind. It’s unclear why Greta Gerwig bothers with this needlessly complicated mechanic in a lighthearted fantasy film. And surely most Barbies end up in landfill or boxes in lofts, meaning that Barbieland would actually be full of creepy unconscious Barbies, like something out of Coma?
The systematic oppression of Kens
At one point the Barbies take back control of Barbieland and return Kens to being second-class citizens. There’s a word for this: apartheid. It’s lucky the Kens capitulated, or the Barbies might have got out the sjamboks and CS gas.
The dire Hollywood low-brow humour bits
Barbie includes a lengthy chase scene through Mattel’s headquarters, involving the childish board of directors led by Will Ferrell. MRAs and incels interpreted these dipshit characters as a dig at men in general, but a more likely explanation is that after years of braindead comedies Hollywood thinks mugging actors doing CRAZY SHIT is inherently funny. It’s not, and Tinseltown types who think this should have the DVD of Meet the Spartans rammed up their arse as a learning experience.
The gynaecologist scene
So Barbie’s biggest achievement is having a vagina? No, that can’t be right. It must be a triumphant moment where Barbie becomes her true, strong, empowered female self. Well done Barbie for, er, going to the doctor’s.
Did Barbie just luck out?
It seems likely that Barbie, with the help of some questionable marketing, managed to appeal to loads of demographics, including some of the lesser-known ones like ‘Boyfriends who fancy Margot Robbie and thought there’d be enough jokes in it’. Sorry, that’s heresy. Barbie was completely amazing in every respect and the marketing budget of $150 million, one of the biggest in film history, had nothing to do with it.
Well, that was all a bit of an anticlimax
At the end, Barbie is presented with a classic dilemma – should she stay in the safety of Barbieland or fulfil her potential in the perilous human world? Rather than this being a great dramatic moment Barbie just says her goodbyes and heads off. It’s as if the Little Mermaid casually turned around and said: ‘Yeah well, being a mermaid wasn’t all that anyway. Laters.’