When I was a little girl, I played with Matchbox cars and made mud pies. I climbed trees. I fell out of trees. I never played with Barbies. I did once pull the arm off a Barbie and shove a firecracker in inside the doll. I got into trouble for it. It was absolutely worth it.
I liked it. Other people will write more eloquently about how good the movie is. It was a fun movie with some unexpected emotions. So, I’d like to share a few quotes which made me smile and gave me something to think about.
I think Gloria’s speech (played by America Ferrera) to Barbie after Barbie explained how she was worthless and not worth anything is going to be a topic of conversation for a while:
It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.
You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. 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 behavior, 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.
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. It’s too hard, it’s too contradictory, and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you. 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.
And if all of that…is also true for a doll…just representing a woman…then, I don’t even know.
I also liked what Ruth Handler (played by Rhea Perlman) said near the end of the movie.
You understand that humans only have one ending. Ideas live forever, humans, not so much. You know that, right? Being a human can be pretty uncomfortable. Humans make things up, like patriarchy and Barbie just to deal with how uncomfortable it is. And then ya die.
Barbie (played by Margot Robbie) then realized she wanted to be human.
I want to be a part of the people that make meaning, not the thing that’s made. I want to do the imagining. I don’t wanna be the idea.
I get it. I get all of it and I agree.
Never thought I’d watch a Barbie movie. Never thought I’d like it. Never thought I’d shed a tear. But I did. And it was good.
Go see Barbie and then spend some time thinking about what you’re made for.