Life

Barbie: A Feminist Nightmare or a Symbol of Empowerment?

  The movie begins – the world’s first Barbie is born in this homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. In an instant, a “whole universe” belonging to Barbie opened.
  ”Thanks to Barbie, all feminism and equal rights issues are solved,” murmurs the narrator of “The Queen” Helen Mirren. The birth of Barbie coincided with the second wave of feminism. For more than half a century, Barbie has become a symbol, constantly responding to the demands and changes of the Western feminist movement and social development, and the updates and iterations are also capricious.
  Contrary to the Adam and Eve allusion in Genesis, Ken was born for Barbie, like a Hollywood heroine. Thus, while Barbie has progressed to the point where she can be “anyone,” Ken will always be Ken. After all, Ken is just an “accessory,” as long as it exudes “masculinity.”
  With the moving melody of “Pink”, a bird’s-eye view of Barbieland (Barbieland), the dot on the letter “i” is where the house of “Classic Barbie” is – indicating that this is a movie about “myself”. Waking up in a dreamy and retro space, the “Barbies” greet each other, shower, eat breakfast… A perfect “day”, or, “every day”, always ends in a party. Everything is like the star-studded Hollywood, and it is more like the current year-round live broadcast, reality show, and social network public opinion field. People wear “titles” and “personal designs” and live a life surrounded by consumerism.
  The female confusion of “A Room of One’s Own” does not exist here. However, almost all houses have no walls on all sides, everyone can see everyone, and there is nowhere to hide secrets. The scene of “Woman Walking Up the Stairs” will not appear. Barbie will only sit on the slide, turn to be suspended beside the Tai Chi-shaped swimming pool, or simply drop into the car by air, showing a kind of being placed, stared at, and objectified. attitude. The “paradise” that seems to be “only Barbie is the only one” is just an exquisite “panoramic prison”. I always feel that at some point, the big hands that are good at manipulating puppets in “Becoming John Malkovich” will appear in the sky above Barbie Paradise.
  In this “Panoramic Prison” where pink and sweet bubbles are constantly bubbling, Barbies are forever young, with the corners of their mouths raised forever, and their hairstyles are still in perfect order even when the spring breeze blows. Barbie can be “as many kinds” of anyone as there are “as many kinds” of Barbie “pretending to live”: the president, the astronaut, the pilot, the postman, the cleaner, the construction worker…all perform their duties and have fun.
  Yes, “Barbie can be anyone”, but the fate of each Barbie is precisely determined by different assembly lines before birth – whether it is an astronaut or a cleaner, it will not change because of personal ability, effort or will . In this light, Barbieland is essentially no different from the classic dystopian novel Brave New World. People only pursue “happiness” and “stability”, without freedom, emotion, and connection between people.
  To make matters worse, there is also a chain of contempt in Barbie Paradise: the “weird Barbie”, who was treated violently and thus awakened earlier and jumped out of the “rules of the game”, has long been marginalized by internal and external efforts; Always ignored by everyone, she personally proves what “women are a situation”; the worst thing is “pregnant Barbie” Miqi, who is not welcomed by people near the end of the film. In fact, the popularity of the paradise is nothing more than linked to the sales of goods in reality. After all, the settings and characters in the paradise are still the product of capitalism and patriarchy in reality. When we follow the camera all the way from the Mattel Building When he came to the meeting room from his office, he saw 13 men sitting around a heart-shaped desk, and found that they were the real “judges” who decided the fate of Barbie Paradise.

  At a party, Barbie suddenly asked everyone a philosophical question: “Have you ever thought about dying?” In an instant, the music of “Dance The Night” stopped, and everyone looked at Barbie in horror. I like to call this moment the “Greta moment”—the girl character created by this director is always so out of place and independent.
  The inability to stop thinking about death, along with a series of calls of gravity, triggers Barbie’s “identity crisis”. Guided by “Weird Barbie”, Barbie came to a seemingly familiar “real world”.
  Here, the same Barbie is a “fascist” who “sets back the feminist movement 50 years” in the eyes of Sasha, a girl of Generation Z, because she is always perfect; and Sasha’s mother picked up Barbie from the trash can. Loria’s feelings for Barbie and her understanding of life are much more complicated. Barbie accompanies her to open a window of respite outside of family and work.
  At the end of the film, Barbie, who chose to become a human, came to Los Angeles, the seat of Hollywood, from the plastic full-score paradise. Is this a step toward reality, or is it indulging in a greater illusion? But fortunately, the first thing Barbie has to do is to see a gynecologist, starting from 0, starting from the vagina, starting from knowing her body. Even knowing that it is not easy to be a human being, and knowing that you will have to face “gender troubles” all the time in your future life, you still choose to be free, to create, and to be sober.
  The most touching part of the film is the subtle moments of resonance between women – Barbie and the old woman look at each other, and Gloria’s telepathy, and she supports “Barbie’s mother” Ruth Hand Le shared “a life story”… “The meaning of a mother is to let her daughter know how far she has come when she looks back.” The distance between “mother” and “daughter” is the original intention of creating Barbie and the childhood Sweet dreams and the cruelty of growing up are the history of changes in social development, as well as a rather microscopic personal history.
  Today, the world’s first Barbie is over sixty years old. In her “memory”, there are people’s definitions of “female” in different periods, the fantasy of “growing up”, as well as the gaze of countless pairs of eyes and the countless “ways of seeing” created by them— —Colorful, rich, complex and contradictory—and this is also the daily life of “female”.
  Of course, women of Generation Z don’t have to avoid the memories of Barbie dolls. After all, she let us release the freedom, rebellion and power that are not easy to display elsewhere, and it is an important part of shaping self-identity and establishing female friendship—even if this The process is not always smooth, mixed with misunderstanding, jealousy, and grievances, but in the end it will be bright because of being honest with each other. Today, we need to write more women’s own stories and pass on more women’s unique experiences.

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