My daughter went to see the Barbie movie with her boyfriend. When she came home she told me she cried during the movie. When I asked why she said there was a part where a mom explained what it was like to be a woman. I asked her if she cried because it was so accurate, and she nodded. The next day she asked me to go see it with her.
I expected a fluffy, funny movie and there was some of that, but there were also some powerful messages I hope are not overlooked or dismissed. There are some people who could perceive those messages as feminist whining, but I hope they keep an open mind instead of denying what women will tell you still happens.
I will tell you a few moments that were powerful for me, but I have to be careful not to give away the plot in case you go to see it.
Ken and Barbie go to the real world and their perceptions of their interactions with men vary greatly. Ken says there is a different feeling here, but it doesn’t feel violent, but Barbie says she senses violence. If you are a man ask a woman in your life if she has ever felt uncomfortable or threatened in a situation involving men. Most women have experienced the moment a man looks at them as if they are a dessert he can have if he wants. Watch how men look at women in a gym. We have a heavily wooded park near our house where my husband walks our dog. It’s a beautiful spot, but I would never go there by myself because as a woman I am more vulnerable to violence. It shouldn’t be that way.
The all-male board at Mattel wants to put Barbie back in her box just as women are often subjected to the mentality that keeps us in a box. We still live in a culture that believes beautiful and sexy cannot be paired with intelligence, and if you are beautiful you are trying to tempt men. The men putting Barbie in the box begin to tighten the ties on her hands just as women have their hands tied because no matter how we dress or act we are judged.
I cried when the mom described why it’s hard to be a woman because I wish it was different for my daughters, but we struggle with the same issues. I also cried because it has been difficult. Women are treated as less than every day. At my first job, I was told I would make less than my male colleagues because eventually, they would have to support a family.
I cried again when the creator of Barbie talked about what moms do for daughters. My daughter was also crying and told me later that was the part she wanted me to see.
I liked the movie and there are some very funny parts in between the messages. I would highly recommend it. I hope it stimulates some great conversations.