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The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

Movie Review: Barbie

It’s More Than Kenough
Trinity King (11) and Ava Sambile (12).

Picture this: dozens of Kens sit in a circle. Wielding guitars, they rest around campfires with their girlfriends. Suddenly, Ken and the other men break out into song, enthusing for hours about how they’d like to push the Barbies around. While hilarious, the film also offers social commentary on how sexism encourages men to treat women like objects. This scene offers a taste of the fun-filled feminist fest that is Barbie.

The plot of this film follows Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling). They live in the matriarchal utopia of Barbieland. Suddenly, Barbie begins to worry about death and sadness. More horrifyingly, Barbie develops bad breath, flat feet, and cellulite. Barbie and Ken embark on an adventure in the real world to revert Barbie to normal. However, Ken discovers the patriarchy. He and his fellow Kens attempt to convert Barbieland into a society where men ride horses, chug beers, and rule the world.

Barbie contains several memorable gags, like when Ken converts Barbie’s Dreamhouse into his Mojo Dojo Casa House. The movie is also self-aware. As Barbie laments how ugly she is, the narrators personally claim that Margot Robbie is the worst person to deliver these lines. 

This film fantastically balances humor and deconstructions of modern sexism. Parodying how some men habitually assume women are unintelligent, the audience is subject to scenes of Ken mansplaining the movie The Godfather to Barbie. Ken’s brainwashing of Barbie’s friends represents how the patriarchy encourages women to internalize misogynistic beliefs.

Barbie also criticizes corporate feminism. When visiting Mattel HQ, Barbie finds that men virtually control the company. Rather than seeking to empower women as they are, they create a perfect, unattainable ideal for women to strive for to gain profits.

Although some have characterized Barbie as a misandrist film, the movie portrays a sympathetic view of Ken. The movie illustrates how Ken feels shut out of Barbieland. While women get to be doctors, astronauts, and politicians, when asked about his job, Ken replies that “It’s just beach.” Ken is drawn to sexism because he feels powerless and isolated, and he later realizes how he lacks an identity outside of his relationship with Barbie. 

At times, Barbie can be preachy. The film is less inspiring than droning when characters go on long speeches about the difficulties of being female. Nonetheless, Barbie is a hysterical film that captures the realities of modern misogyny. Today, sexism is increasing because of the incel movement and the rise of manfluencers like Andrew Tate. Political decisions like Roe vs. Wade allowing states to ban abortions have sparked gender-related controversies. Films like Barbie can spark conversations about the lingering sexism in society and create change. Overall, Barbie is a great movie with important social messages.

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About the Contributor
Elisandra Hampton, Copy Editor, Formatting Editor
My name is Elisandra Hampton and I am the Copy Editor and Formatting Editor of The Monarch Times for the 2023-24 school year. I joined The Monarch Times last year and I am dedicated to writing quality articles. I was born in Hayward, raised in Hayward, and plan to die in Hayward. My hobbies include drawing, reading, and spending hours on Instagram Reels. I hope I can continue creating informative content this year.  
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