The Gospel According to Barbie

The Gospel According to Barbie

It's Barbie Land, and we're just living in it! Kate Biol reflects on six takeaways she learned after watching this year's biggest movie.

I grew up with Barbies and one Ken.

We all remember how we played our first Barbie. My first Barbie comes with a Ken and a baby! My collection grew as my ninangs and aunts would give me different Barbies on my birthday and Christmas! Ranging from the classic blondes and brunettes to mermaids with purple hair and even one in Filipiniana regalia! As a child, I often made it a point to visit the toy section to stare at different Barbie outfits and accessories. Even as a child, I learned how to sew to fashion an outfit made from scrap clothes and beads that I collected from my tita’s sewing kits.

I’ve got to give it to Barbie’s marketing team for working 24/7 and even brands are trendjacking the hype. They did their job so well that there is an unwritten rule to wear pink if you are going to watch Barbie. Bonus: Oppenheimer got a free ride too!

As a grown woman, I watched Barbie because it awakens the nostalgia of my childhood memories. I like the way they did Barbie’s character. She’s a glorifying single, independent, trendsetter, stereotypical Barbie who lives in her dream house with a slide going to the pool. She’s perfect until she’s started having thoughts of death.

The movie is about Barbie having an existential crisis and being required to do some soul-searching in the Real World. It somehow speaks to each one of us in more ways than one. Here are some takeaways from the movie that everyone can relate to.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

Power Babe

Photo: Warner Brothers Pictures

In the 2023 movie, Barbie lives in her dream house as an independent and perfect stereotypical Barbie who drives a modified pink C1 Corvette around Barbie Land. She believes in women empowerment and shows us that being single doesn’t mean that you are an incomplete person. She realizes that our worth comes from within and we don’t need external validation to feel complete.

Can Do Lady Boss

Photo: Warner Brothers Pictures

Greta Gerwig understood the assignment of the “you can do anything” campaign by casting a posse of career-oriented Barbies: president, Nobel prize winner, celebrated author, supreme court justice, lawyer, diplomat, journalist, and doctor, to name a few. Barbie breaks career stereotypes and proves that any woman can excel in any field they choose.

Its message of inspiring little girls to dream big and pursue their passion fearlessly is very clear: No dream is too big for Barbie and no Ken can stop her from going to the Real World to find out why she is no longer having the best day every day.

He’s Just Ken

Photo: Warner Brothers Pictures

Contrary to what everyone thinks that Ken is the male lead but he takes on a kenough role of being Barbie’s supportive sidekick. His day will be perfect if Barbie notices him. It flips the story on gender dynamics that shows a woman’s story can shine without the need for a romantic relationship to which Ken insists that it’s always “Barbie and Ken” and not “just Ken”.

Personally, I think Ken’s patriarchal Kendom campaign with the other Kens is how he handles rejection and lack of attention from Barbie. He did say that he lost interest when he found out that patriarchy is not about horses.

PS: Correct me if I am wrong but for a split second, I think Barbie and Ken are in a situationship. They don’t have labels!

PPS: I don’t know about you but the Barbie movie has an undertone message saying that it is okay to be single and to be content with having a handsome steady.

Defying Society Expectations

Photo: Warner Brothers Pictures

Few movies defy societal expectations and Barbie is one of them. It is refreshing to see Barbie go on a self-love journey, discover her strengths, and ambitions, and remind us that we define happiness on our own terms. There was no pressure to prioritize romantic partners over patriarchal issues. In fact, Barbie chooses girls’ night over staying in with Ken.

You Do You

Photo: Warner Brothers Pictures

Barbie embraces her unique qualities (cellulite and flat feet included) and is not sorry for being her true self. The movie puts emphasis on the cliche, “Nobody is perfect.” Barbie inspires us to embrace our quirks and celebrate the flaws that make us truly special. There is no need to fit into society’s expectations, just be yourself.

Gerwig also celebrates the representation of diverse characters with different backgrounds, body types, and ethnicities. It breaks away from the traditional perfect Barbie image and expands on an inclusive definition of beauty standards.

Main Character Era

Photo: Warner Brothers Pictures

Gerwig’s powerful message on empowerment and self-love did not go unnoticed. It redefines the color pink from feminine to strong woman. It aligns with gender equality and encourages girls to take on different leadership roles. I agree with Lizzo—it’s about damn time! There is more to Barbie than labels and colorful OOTDs. Barbie is an iconic symbol of women in power, independence, and an inspiration to every little girl and women in the workforce.

The Barbie movie hits home for many people as it talks about Barbie’s self worth, identity, and purpose. As an adult, watching something iconic from your childhood hits differently. It allows you to think of your worth as a woman. Gloria’s inspiring monologue summarizes everything–the unspoken pains and struggles of being a woman under societal pressure. It is a speech that is buried inside of us and we are happy that someone is doing it on our behalf. Kudos to Gloria for delivering it with power!

The movie is not just for little girls but for every woman and supporting real-life Kens in our lives. It’s a Ken out of ten.