The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

Move over Nicki Minaj, new Barbs rule the world

She’s everything. He’s just Ken. 

With its exploding theme of pink, Barbie has already made a lasting impression through its production and message. Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the Barbie movie was set to be a hit even before its trailer was released. Directed by Greta Gertwig, Barbie aims to empower people strategically: by transforming a trip down memory lane into a profound message. Brilliantly, the movie was able to take a familiar and nostalgic topic and turn it into a source of empowerment.

The beginning of Barbie takes place in Barbie Land, where Barbies are shown to be accomplished and valued women. The highly choreographed opening scenes of the movie paint Barbie Land as a utopia. The protagonist, Stereotypical Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, has the principal qualities of any good Barbie, while also remaining sincere and uplifting. Viewers seemed to unanimously agree that Robbie was the perfect casting choice for Barbie. 

 While life in Barbie Land empowered women as independent figures, Ryan Gosling’s Ken only served the purpose of being Barbie’s accessory. Early on in the film, viewers began to observe a connection between Ken and real-world women, as Ken’s place in Barbie Land mirrors a woman’s place in society. 

This approach of flipping societal roles was already what stunned a lot of people. It became a brilliant plot point that directed the audience to aspire for a system without oppression.  Nonetheless, critical comments were made on the fact that this was supposedly a form of propaganda to put men down. 

What caused this confusion is the fact that the film uses toxic masculinity and femininity as tools. While this was not intended to be the central idea, it played into a theme many people were sensitive about: a gender war. This unassailable mockery of both sides was what diminished the ultimate message for a large portion of the audience.  

But then again, it is a fact that oppression is harder to see when you are not on the receiving end. How else could the movie create an understanding mindset? 

It was a balance of favoring both groups, which is what should’ve gotten the audience to understand the intention was not a conflict. 

As the movie progresses, viewers are introduced to the dark and negative thoughts intruding on Barbie’s mind. The film takes a more serious shift and starts addressing real-world issues. 

Darker elements begin to surface throughout the film, most notably when Ken discovers the real world is a ‘man’s world’, empowering him in a way Barbie Land never did.

Aside from that, to many viewers’ surprise, Mattel, the company that produces Barbie dolls, seemed to take ownership of the harmfulness their products have caused by including jokes in the film at their own expense. 

Additionally, Barbie had many hilarious moments scattered throughout, most notably Ryan Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” and the pop-culture references sprinkled in the film. Gosling’s deliveries of Ken’s lines and his mannerisms were what made the film absolutely hilarious and even ridiculous at times.

However, once the film starts to drag on heavier topics, the comical elements are met with slaps of reality when the Kens decide to transform Barbie’s Dream House into their own personal Mojo Dojo Casa House, a place where men have complete control over women.

Ultimately, the movie concludes with Barbie regaining control over Barbie Land and reminding women of their individual importance, along with informing Ken that he doesn’t need to be Barbie’s accessory. 

At its core, Barbie is a movie revolving around self-discovery and womanhood. This is a movie made by women for women, with jokes sprinkled in at the expense of men while still ultimately uplifting everyone. Viewing Barbie was truly an experience that gifted viewers hysterical moments in-theaters, along with deeper themes to reflect on once in the comfort of their Mojo Dojo Casa House.