– Barbie seems to have succeeded commercially on several fronts: those who love its message conflate that with loving the film, and those who don’t love the film, don’t want to say so, for fear of appearing not to agree with its message. Then there are those who hate the film and the message but still bang on about it (and watched it) because it outrages them so much, and that’s a commercial win too. But it’s possible to be pro gender equality and anti-Barbie; to think every fair point it makes is buried in a jumble of confused nonsense and pseudo-philosophy with the snarky self-assurance and intellectual depth of a teenage gossip mag; to think it could just as easily be a spoof and mockery of 21st century feminism as a ‘manifesto’ for it; and to find its reliance on ‘magic’ to move the plot forwards lazy. Its core premise, explicitly stated in a frustrated monologue, is that: “It is literally impossible to be 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…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.” Evidently, this is a film designed to inflame and profit from the culture war and, if nothing else, it’s achieved that.

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Sammy the Squirrel
Sammy the Squirrel

A wonderful and fresh review. I concur.