Gilbert Speaks on ‘Barbie’

I never had a Mattel Barbie as a child. In the late ‘40s and early ‘50s I did have a Tiny Tears doll and a Betsey Wetsy doll…but my daughter and nieces grew up with Barbies and they loved them. When the Barbie film came out, my niece, who had just turned 13, asked me to take her to see it. I was hesitant at first. The politicians and religious leaders had their undies in a knot over the film, claiming that it was too political, too feministic, too gay. Luckily, I did not listen to them.


My daughter, who is a Trump supporter also wanted to see the film. She was hesitant for the same reasons: too political, too gay, but she is my daughter and her spirit of adventure won out. In preparation for the film, my daughter, niece and I dressed in full Barbie fashion. I even had pink Jellies to wear. Barbie is a fantasy comedy written and directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Ryan Gosling, Michael Cera, Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Ariana Greenblatt, and the amazing Rhea Perlman as Ruth Handler (the creator of Barbie). There are so many stars in this film, that you need to check out the IMDb.

The story centers around Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie), and all the Barbies and Kens that live in Barbieland, which is a matriarchal society. The Kens spend their days at the beach while the Barbies have important jobs such as doctors, scientists, judges…you name a job, and there is a Barbie to fill it. Ken (Ryan Gosling) loves Barbie, but she only sees him as a friend. Ken only feels he has purpose when Barbie pays attention to him. When Barbie is suddenly overcome with anxiety about death, she seeks the advice of Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon).

Weird Barbie advises Stereotypical Barbie to find the child who is playing with her in the real world. Barbie takes off in her cute little pink convertible unaware that Ken has stowed away in the back seat. The film then rears away from everything is peachy in Barbieland to Barbie and Ken learning about their strengths and weaknesses, the human world and about their true worth. Ken’s existence depends on Barbie acknowledging him so realizing that the real-world favours patriarchy, he returns to Barbieland to make some changes.

Barbie finds the mother (America Ferrera) and daughter (Ariana Greenblatt) who are having issues in their relationship but decide to help Barbie, while outsmarting the CEO of Mattel (Will Ferrell) who is trying to put Barbie back in a box.


The film is a technical delight with the colourful scenes, the music, the dancing, and more importantly…Barbie getting to learn all about her creator (Rhea Perlman) and the real reason she created the original Barbie doll. There are a few scenes that are true tearjerkers as we learn, with Barbie and Ken, that everyone has worth.

I am so happy that I ignored the hoopla and bad press coming from the politicians and church leaders. I will make one suggestion for any movie that is under attack from these politicians and church leaders: If they tell you not to read a book or see a movie…run don’t walk to the nearest theatre or bookstore. These people are afraid of knowledge.

Barbie had no gay agenda, no flying dildos, no trans indoctrination, nothing that would make an educated public reach for their pitchforks. What Barbie did offer was a look within ourselves and our society. We are everyday people trying to find our soul’s mission in a hostile world. The message was delivered in a delightful and enjoyable way. At the matinee that we went to, there were men, women, little girls, little boys, grandmothers, grandfathers. We all enjoyed the film for what it was. My daughter who is a hardcore republican, my niece who is a Gen Z, and me (a hardcore Democrat) all loved the Barbie movie, and we intend to go back and watch it a second time. It was that good.

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