As a child living on an acreage with adult siblings, Barbie dolls were my primary source of entertainment.
ountless hours were spent changing outfits, creating backdrops, dioramas and crafting intricate stories in my mind as I imagined myself and all of the adventures I would experience as a grown up.
Well, as you can imagine, when I heard about the Barbie movie, and how the wonderfully talented Margot Robbie would be the lead role in it, I could hardly contain my excitement.
Unable to see it the first weekend, I was immediately inundated with spoilers on social media. What I hadn't really expected was the sheer volume of men who hated it - from one guy setting a Barbie on fire (wait, what... are you serious?) to another complaining about how it's not about equality (obviously, it's a Barbie movie...?) - I quickly realized that if it was causing certain individuals to be this offended over a movie about a doll, I was going to LOVE IT.
My daughter and I went together, dressed in bubblegum pink and bedazzled in our sparkly jewels. We giggled at the fun, inspired by the nostalgia of pastel outfits and playsets, and grew misty from the poignant social commentary - the stabs of injustice needling at our hearts.
I wondered about all the little girls who must be clamoring to see the film. My eight year old self sure would have been. But should little girls be exposed to the entirety of the truth of patriarchy? The unfairness of being a woman in our society is something we learn slowly, bit by bit, cut by cut, first as little girls and then on into adolescence, but the totality of the situation isn't often fully recognized until womanhood.
Usually by then, you've accepted it or grown weary of it, the burn of teen angst long gone and replaced by adult apathy of realizing the absolute magnitude of the problem. Or, if you are like me, the sheer volume of WORK that you're faced with as a woman in this world, because who has time or energy left to be upset about the unfairness of the patriarchy when you've got diapers to change, dinners to cook, laundry to wash and lunches to make all the while working a 40 hour work week? And that's why Barbie has struck a chord, with me, my daughter, and likely women all over the world - which explains why Barbie has broken so many box office records so far.
I'll leave the decision of whether to take little girls to the film up to the parents, but one thing I do know, is that this generation of girls, teens and women who see the film will look at the world with different eyes. All thanks to a woman like Greta Gerwig, who was brave enough to shine a FIERY FUCHSIA light on the injustice of the patriarchy in a movie that was equal parts eye-opening and fun.
Let the offended complain. Or set their Barbies on fire. Of course they don't want to look at the injustice of partriarchy - that would require being able to actually empathize and imagine what it would be like to have the (Barbie) shoe on the other (Ken) foot. Or maybe that's the problem, they caught a glimpse of what it would be like to be forced into a pink box an it struck a chord inside, maybe fear or anger... at the injustice?
So come on Barbie, Ken, Skipper, Allen and Midge, let's throw on our favorite NEON pink dress and heels and head to the theatres with women of all ages to watch this fun, heartfelt and beautiful piece of filmmaking.
Because Barbie really IS everything.