How the Barbie Movie Is Empowering Women to be authentic
How the Barbie Movie Is Empowering Women to be Authentic
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. The question on everyone’s lips since Barbie took over cinema screens this summer.... Does Barbie promote unrealistic body expectations or is she a feminist icon? Well, both!
The Barbie we used to know
When Barbie came into our worlds as a shiny plastic doll young girls loved to play dress up with, she represented the ‘perfect’ looking woman. We’re talking thin. Tall. Small waist. Perfect curves. And of course, blonde.
So for most 21st-century women, Barbie demonstrated the societal pressure women face to look a certain way, and it was easy to dub Barbie a thing of the past.
The Barbie of today
Then came Greta Gerwig's film of the summer bringing powerful messaging against the patriarchy, where Barbie went from doll to feminist icon.
For those who have yet to see the film, Barbie - played by Margot Robbie, goes through an existential identity crisis. Barbie is given a choice to remain a perfected stereotypical version of a woman or become a 'real' person, flaws and all.
The sea of pink has been everywhere, from extensive promotional activity to record-breaking box office sales, Forbes goes as far to say Barbie has taken over the world.
Barbie has been dubbed a feminist milestone. Tied up neatly in one simple message: “Because if Barbie can be anything, women can be anything’.
She has become a friend to women everywhere, reminding them that patriarchal barriers should be challenged.
So, how has Barbie done it?
An infectious portrayal of female self-confidence
Greta Gerwig’s dreamy utopia is set in Barbie Land, a world where powerful and influential positions are all held by successful women. You’ve got President Barbie, Judge Barbie and Dr. Barbie - the list goes on. And the men, well, they’re just Ken.
It’s an in-jest comparison of the patriarchal gender gap that we know in the ‘real world’. Where frankly, it can still sometimes be seen as note-worthy and tokenism to have women in senior positions.
Seeing women in Barbie Land unapologetically ooze confidence creates an undeniably infectious sense of camaraderie. Especially important in a world of imposter syndrome.
It also goes beyond passive cinema viewing with a viral self-generator trend of ‘This Barbie is…’. This invites you to join the Barbie universe by uploading a photo of yourself and writing your own ‘This Barbie is…’ tagline.
In case you somehow missed this internet takeover, you can see our very own founder Jen, getting involved in this below.
It makes women everywhere feel seen
In the film America Ferrera, playing a ‘real woman’ not a Barbie is the portrayal of women in society as we know it. She’s being overlooked by her male colleagues. She’s struggling with motherhood. She’s struggling to look a certain way.
In an already iconic scene her character shares a monologue of the struggles women face daily:
"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 behaviour, 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.
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."
We challenge you to find a woman who doesn’t feel some part of the above resonate. She is every woman.
And, it makes things feel possible.
Barbie loudly and collectively tells women everywhere what you want is possible. ‘Because if Barbie can be anything, women can be anything’.
In the charity project ‘The Dream Gap’ set up by Barbie creator Mattel says that the gap between young girls and their potential isn’t due to a lack of confidence or drive - it’s the world around them.
Jen, CreativeMind’s founder, leaves us with her home truths on believing in whoever you want to be and speaking your truth:
“You may have been conditioned to believe your voice is not as credible or important as others.
You may have been told not to rock the boat, not to show off, to speak out, or to challenge.
You may have been told you have to smile and say yes, of course, right away.
The time has come for you to start speaking, to start shining and to start succeeding.
Your voice displays all the emotions and energies inside you. So, think about all those strong positive energies, all those incredible qualities you know you have. Tap into them. Believe in them.
Then stand up, speak up and let your strengths shine.”
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