Women have always played a secondary role in a man’s world, either due to men’s self-insecurity or lack of confidence. Whatever the reason, women have had to work harder to pave their way towards success, while for men, it has always been easier. So, why are women and men not treated equally, and what does this entire question have to do with Greta Gerwig’s film “BARBIE”? Just hold on and read the rest because it’s going to get better from this point on.
In “BARBIE,” Margot Robbie portrays Barbie, who enjoys her life in a colorful Barbieland surrounded by various other Barbies. She takes advantage of the life set for her and seems to be everything for everyone. On the other hand, Ken (played by Ryan Gosling) is just another Ken, and his day is incomplete without Barbie’s attention. But a strange thing happens when Barbie and Ken must leave their land and enter the real world, where in sunny Los Angeles, they must discover their true selves and bring back the sense of normalcy they are accustomed to.
As “BARBIE” begins, it throws you into the world of dolls and what they meant to girls’ lives. While it may seem silly to us, adults, little girls grew up with dolls in their rooms, and Barbie was one of them. The film introduces us to the stereotypical Barbie – blonde, beautiful, dressed in pink, and portrayed as not particularly intelligent. However, there are other Barbies holding various positions in Barbieland, including those in the Supreme Court and the White House. Ken and his counterparts are merely what they are – another Ken in a charming land, engaging in all physical activities. After all, the land is led by women.
At some point, Barbie wakes up and finds herself contemplating death. She does not understand why and seeks advice from the broken Barbie (Kate McKinnon), who suggests that she travels to the real world to meet the girl that plays with her. Barbie follows this advice, and Ken accompanies her, as impressing Barbie is his main purpose. However, once they land in Los Angeles, their roles are reversed. While Ken is met with applause and admiration, Barbie is treated like an object – just another pretty girl with no brains.
The film takes an intriguing turn as the screenplay, written by the dream team of Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, turns into a social satire, widely questioning the woman’s place in a patriarchal society. Barbie’s journey leads her to MATTEL, the company that created the Barbie Dolls, where she meets Gloria (America Ferrera) offering to assist her. Gerwig/Baumbach waste no time in turning this journey into an intelligent piece of art that should be seen by everyone, regardless of gender.
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie deliver excellent performances, but the truth is that the entire cast was outstanding. America Ferrera’s delivery of the most memorable monologue should be studied in schools as an important topic. The whole film is a gem, dazzling from start to end with its cinematography, colors, settings, and costumes. The concept itself delves into the true colors of men and how they feel threatened by the presence of women. Yet, it also captures the difference between men and women and how power is distributed. If men have the power, it will limit women, but if women are powerful, they can empower men equally.
And that is what “BARBIE” is truly about – the balance of power and why it should be divided equally. Women should never be seen as a threat, and once they are recognized as allies, imagine how beautiful the world can be. We should learn to see ourselves as individuals and not be tied to each other. Barbie and Ken will have their lessons to learn, and so do we, because the knowledge we receive is worth it.