Should you take your child to see the Barbie movie? This was my question before I saw the movie. I have an 8 year old daughter who loves Barbies. We have a Barbie “room” of our house - where she plays with her dream house and dolls. Some of the dolls are mine, and when we play together it brings memories of me playing with my Barbies for hours, by myself and with friends! I also have a 10 year old son, who while would not be interested in the content, likes going to the show with us.
My daughter, though, is also growing up in the time of non-stop media. She does not have social media, but still gets exposed to some through videos on YouTube (she has taught me many TikTok dances - or tried to teach me as I lack coordination).
I have been getting a lot of content about the Barbie movie in my social media feeds. Most have been praising it for its take on the patriarchy. I have seen the America Ferrera speech in a few reels (and absolutely loved it!!)
I have also seen the quote “We mothers stand still so our daughters can look back to see how far they have come. By Ruth”. As a mom, I now feel this more, and have much more respect for my mom, aunts, grandmother, and really all women who have helped me become who I am today.
I do not think the movie would have held my daughters attention for the whole time. She would love the first part, when everything is awesome in Barbie Land. I think she would also be ok with some of the time in the real world. While I understand the movie is a trope of patriarchy, I would not want her to see how Ken acted (overacted) when he returned and turned it to Kenland. While the acting of Ken’s and Barbie’s is done to be over the top so that it was laughable, I do not think that is a distinction my daughter would be able to pick up. When it is available to watch at home, I would watch it with them, as going to the movies with my kids is still a lot of work (and I don’t look nearly as put together as Beyonce did a few years ago at the awards show giving her daughter a juice box) - and it would allow us more time to discuss the behaviours, the reason for the behaviours, and how our actions can affect others.
However, from an adult perspective, the movie was great!! The over the top acting, the bright colours, the details in the costume and set design were phenomenal! I preemptively laughed out loud when Barbie was in the real world and actually had a liquid in the cup as I expected she would spill the drink (and the other audience members quickly caught up with me).
I love that the movie addresses mental health concerns - both in the dolls and in humans. I love that is shows how interconnected the mental health journey of those we care for can affect not just the person who is feeling low, but also others in their circle.
I love that the speech by actress America Ferrerra is what snapped Barbie out of her mental fog was so clever. While much of it resonated with me (and many friends who have shared it) the part of the quote “You’re supposed to love being a mother but you don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman, but also look out for other people.” really struck a nerve. This ties to the “Managing the Motherload” that we are all called to do - juggling motherhood, careers, friends, family, hobbies, self-care, etc. It is impossible to manage it all and we need to find ways to create a village that can help us do it.
I also love that they are allowing non-prototypical Barbies feel seen! I resonate with both Weird Barbie (and her love of Birkenstocks) and Depression Barbie.
So I think you should go to see it - either with a friend, family member, or by yourself! I think that you should discuss the content with your children - and your mother - and your friends - and your partner - and everyone! And you can use that to start to create your own village.
If you got this far, I will share this quote FOR you, for any time you may be feeling like you are not enough “You are so beautiful and so smart and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough.”