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Women on The Barbie Movie

Why We Feel Understood by the Barbie Movie 

By: America Jasmine Palomarez Ledesma 


The memes are true. Every girl walked into the theaters on July 21 dressed from head to toe in pink, ready and excited to watch a fun bubbly movie about their all-time favorite doll. Later, we walked out of the theater crying and questioning our whole life experience. The Barbie movie became the biggest movie of 2023 so far. According to the article by, “with $575 million domestically and $1.3 billion internationally...Barbie became the 14th highest-grossing movie of all time, behind Frozen 2 at $1.4 billion and Top Gun: Maverick at $1.5 billion.”  This movie had us laughing, and sobbing, and is a hard reality check for everyone who has seen it. Barbie was a look into what world women have been living in for the longest time. This movie did a good job of embracing feminism and was also a big reality check. It was an emotionally connective movie for women tied up with a pretty pink bow.

Barbie Land 

Barbie Land is one of the main scenes in the movie takes place. All the Barbies we had grown up with appeared in multiple locations throughout the movie and the iconic beach. All the jobs that we have seen and continue to see Barbie acquire throughout the years are displayed in one place. Barbie has a perfect day full of fun and excitement. As far as Ken, no one actually knows where Ken lives, (or any of the Kens).

   Not one day is sad or dull. Barbie always has something to do, and everything is always perfect. When asked about her thoughts about Barbie Land, GHS senior Leslie Zavala describes it as a perfect world where women are powerful and happy. She states, “Every Barbie in the movie had a place and felt like they belonged, and never felt underestimated.” As we discussed more about how she would feel living there, she stated, “I would like for everything to always be picture perfect, and my goals achieved.” 

    Every male doll is Ken and lives to serve every female doll, Barbie. Barbie does not depend on Ken for anything, not happiness or attention. Barbie land is filled with powerful and amazing Barbies with multiple careers, looks, and personalities, enforcing the idea that women can be anything. In Barbie Land, no Barbie is insecure or feels like they’re being forced to do anything. This is because men don’t have any power over them, and don’t have a say in basically anything regarding who they are. As young girls we were doing more than just playing with dolls, we were creating a world full of powerful and successful women that could do anything, and we finally see this come true in Barbie land. Barbie Journey

The Real World 

Everything switches on Barbie as soon as there is a random outburst. “Do you guys ever think about dying?” Suddenly her world flips and she is no longer just a doll in a picture-perfect world. Barbie is instructed to go to the real world and figure out “the truth of the universe.”  Barbie, accompanied by Ken, enters the other side and both start to experience very different perspectives. As soon as she steps foot into the real world, she gets harassed, and Barbie starts to live like a woman in the real world. 

    G.H.S junior Quetzalli Gonzales confides in The Bruins Eye about what sh

e saw in Barbie’s new world, “Her confidence changed for a very important reason, girls in the real world didn’t see her value, they didn’t see her as more than just a doll and not someone who empowers women.” Gonzales, who watched the movie with a couple of friends, describes how they all notice that Barbie is used to being the center of attention, and when she was out of her comfort zone, didn’t know how to handle it. Gonzales continues, “Even seeing Ken’s sudden change in behavior caused Barbie to feel less than.” Her whole world came crumbling down. Barbie, who thinks she helps girls in the real world, suddenly changes. “We haven’t played with Barbie’s since we were, like, five years old,” teens tell Barbie in the film. This is the start of Barbie’s existential crisis that only gets worse as she continues to discover more about the real world.

Barbie has to learn how to deal with emotions, self-doubt and not feeling enough. She isn’t even sure of what she is doing. Barbie finds her purpose along the way, to help a mother and daughter reconnect in the hard times of 2023. What the movie was trying to enforce is the idea that teenagers are just young girls who were once full of energy and suddenly once they grow up, stop. Growing up means that not only do girls leave their Barbie dolls, but they also leave all the positive values they once had when they played with them. This was shown with Sasha, who we see was close to her mother before growing up.

Hi Barbie!

The Barbie movie was such a feminist movement. As reads, “On Tuesday, August 1st, Barbie became the highest-grossing film solely directed by a woman!” The director, Greta Gerwig, has previously directed the films  Lady Bird and Little Women. That itself is a big feminist movement. Seeing all the women get all dolled up to watch Barbie made us think how this movie was an opportunity for women to embrace themselves. Certainly, Barbie had us crying at least once. It makes us feel heard and understood, but also allows us to express our more feminine side. At the end of the movie, Barbie feels defeated. Ken took everything she owned, and she was left with nothing. Barbie thinks that she will not be able to save Barbie Land and is very self-doubtful.

photo by warner brothersAmerica Ferrera’s character, Gloria, has one of the best performances with her iconic speech regarding the impossible double standards we have as women.  Ms. Frase, an English teacher as well as a journalist teacher in G.H.S tells The Bruin’s Eye "I think the Barbie movie showed women it’s okay to be whatever they might be.” She said Gloria is a stellar representation of feminism for all women, but especially women of color. As we see, Barbie didn’t end up with Ken, she had the self-respect to tell him that she only saw him as a friend and nothing more. Many people didn’t like how men were displayed in the movie. What does Ms. Frase think about this? “We’re focusing too much on men’s reactions. Like honestly, who cares?” And she is right, focusing mostly on what men think takes away from the whole point of the movie: it’s for us! 

All of the Barbies realize their value again, and everything goes back to normal, or so the audience hopes. After everything, Barbie decides to go back to the real world. She explains that feeling both happiness and challenges is what she wants to experience. This is a very important lesson to learn. As girls, we should be okay with everything we bring to the table. Our emotions, our challenges, our good sides, and our bad sides.
The Barbie Movie values girls in a way we have never felt before.