I Finally Saw the Barbie Movie: A Hesitant Mom’s Review




I was hesitant to see the Barbie movie, hence the late timing of this post. I have never really been a fan. Barbie didn’t correlate with my parents’ instillation of wisdom–superficial beauty is fleeting; hard work, independence, and knowledge are valuable. Admittedly, I cringed when my ten-year-old daughter asked to see the movie. The cynic in me was sure it was another movie with superficial undertones. I didn’t think she needed more of the same message.

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Maybe because I am a pushover, but mostly because I look for ways to spend time with my daughter, we did have that movie date. Surprisingly Barbie was more than I expected. Hopefully, the adult humor soared past my daughter’s head and some of the powerful ideas made an impact.

The Barbie movie used humor to highlight gender inequality.

Will Ferrel and his C-suite team of men running Mattel as America Ferrera served as their administrative assistant rang all too familiar. Women make significantly less than men for doing the same jobs. Men hold higher managerial positions. Women’s pay has increased but most women are still paid less than men.

Barbie MovieDuring the famous rollerblading scene, Ken enjoys the attention and feels admired while Barbie can feel the “undertones of violence.” Humor is used to address the topic of objectification and the fear of violence women feel in various situations. As a woman, I know this feeling. I typically run or walk on a treadmill in my house because running anywhere other than the bosque is intimidating. Women typically have to be more vigilant when out and about as we are taught at a young age to always be aware of our surroundings.

Representation matters.

Before we started seeing many women in professions such as doctors, nurses, astronauts, and veterinarians, the Barbie doll was already in these professions. This may have encouraged women to dream that these careers were possible. Representation does matter. America Ferrera is one of my favorite actresses. Although the number of Latina actresses is growing, she was one of the first and few. Through her roles, she addresses relevant issues and stereotypes for Latinas. This representation has helped me to proceed into endeavors and not feel alone. When young girls see women in various roles, it gives them a powerful and necessary visualization of what is possible.

America Ferrera’s monologue is fire.

America’s monologue was fire, and it reminded me of all the wisdom my mom continues to share. It acknowledged so many aspects of being a woman. The not feeling good enough, not being thin enough, the never-ending quest for beauty but not being superficial. The pressure to be a good Mom but not overdoing it, to be a leader but not step on any toes.

“We mothers stand still, so our daughters can look back to see how far they’ve come.”

The scene coinciding with this quote was a tearjerker. It reminded me of the sacrifices my mom and my grandmothers made to allow me to move forward. It reminded me of the opportunities that I turned down during my time as a single mom to ensure that I was present and available for my daughter. My mother-in-law doesn’t have daughters, but she sacrificed to ensure her kids were cared for and supported.

Take it from a Barbie cynic. If you haven’t seen it, there is still some time to see it in theaters and it is now available online too. There is a lot of entertainment value in the movie and a lot of non-preachy lessons that serve as powerful reminders that although we have made strides, we still have a way to go to ensure that our daughters can thrive in a better environment.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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