the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

The world isn’t full of Kens

Commentary on the ‘Barbie’ movie backlash

July 21, 2023. Movie theaters flood with crowds of people in bright pink, excited to finally see the long-awaited Barbie movie. They leave the theater sometime later, Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For” still playing in their heads as they reflect on the film. 

Many left the theater with a feeling of deep nostalgia or sentimentality. Many left feeling like they were truly seen on screen for one of the first times. Of course, some left unimpressed, confused, or unaffected. One’s reaction to the Barbie movie is largely based on their own identity, particularly gender. 

The movie didn’t hit home for a significant amount of people. The film has been under attack by more conservative news sources and figures for pushing a feminist agenda, or for being too “woke,” for what it stood for. “Barbie” is a movie that takes something not commonly seen as a feminist icon- a Barbie doll- and reimagines her world and how it relates to ours. It tells the truth of womanhood in America, how women are forced to navigate a patriarchal society, and how, even in a system set up for men, it’s not actually all that hot for them, either. 

It takes the patriarchy and explains it in a way accessible to practically everyone- showing how the system is not only detrimental to women, but to everyone, and it does so in a fun, creative way. Yet, some people simply can’t wrap their heads around the realness of the film. While the movie angered some of these people, it simply confused the rest. Why should they care? How were they supposed to relate to a plastic doll? 

“Barbie” is a movie made by women, for women, in a male-dominated industry where women struggle to be and see themselves truly represented. So the plethora of complaints by men on “Barbie” not being relatable is almost laughable when, all throughout movie history, the vast majority of stories have been made for and by them. 

And yet, “Barbie” could resonate with men if you know where to look. Ken’s journey through the film is really just about finding yourself in the world. Your Kenergy, if you will. It’s a universal struggle, and it pertains to every individual in their own way. But of course, the point of the film is not to cater to men’s relatability. America Ferrera- who was nominated for best supporting actress in this year’s Oscars- playing the character Gloria, explains her struggle and the struggle of women as a whole in her monologue towards the climax of the film. 

“I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us,” she says in her now famous monologue. “And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.” It’s this monologue that explains the very point of the film. 

“Barbie” was the highest-grossing film of 2023, and the highest-grossing film by a female director ever, earning over $1.4 billion and making history. And with the recent Oscars, it’s made it to the forefront of movie discussion once again. Although it didn’t win any major awards, one thing is clear: The impact of the “Barbie” movie has been monumental. Not only for pop culture as a whole but for individuals. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cassandra White
Hello, my name is Cassandra! I'm a junior and this is my first year on staff. I am really looking forward to developing my writing skills and learning more about journalism this year!

Comments (0)

All The Kolus Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *