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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Barbie movie’s revolutionary effect on society

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

There is no doubt Greta Gerwig’s Barbie took the world by storm. Although from the surface it appears as a lighthearted movie about the famous Barbie doll, it is much more. With themes of feminism, female empowerment and the journey to self-discovery, Barbie has become extremely relatable to women everywhere. 

“Barbie found out who she really was, and I went through a period in my life where I didn’t know where I was,” said Kristen Francis, a junior education major at UNC Asheville. 

The movie emphasized the idea the Barbie doll has been pushing for decades: that women can do the same jobs men can do, as well as be in positions of power. 

Senior environmental studies major Gaby Shenot discussed the importance of representation in the movie.

“I am a stem major, so I think having a lot of those careers being highlighted in the movie was really important and really inspiring,” Shenot said.

However, to some Barbie has become increasingly controversial due to its visualization of worldwide issues, including various struggles women face.  

“The second Barbie got into the real world she was immediately objectified. That really resonated with me,” said Cady Stanton, an aspiring art major at UNCA. 

The movie also demonstrates the patriarchy in our society, and how it affects both men and women.  

“The movie gave a really clear idea of how easy it is for men to think they can come in and take over,” Shenot said. “I think it did a good job highlighting the fact that the patriarchy’s still an issue we have to face every day.” 

Many may consider Barbie “anti-men,” considering its portrayal of toxic masculinity. However, it is actually an accurate portrayal of men being victims of the patriarchy, along with women. It encourages men to reimagine their own masculinity. 

“We’re all going through our own similar gender stereotypes and the patriarchy doesn’t even work toward men,” said Stanton. “The patriarchy doesn’t work for anybody, and I feel like that was the point.” 

Men have come to further understand women’s struggles in society because of the movie’s impact. According to a survey conducted by Resume Builder, 53% of viewers say Barbie improved their opinion of women in the workplace. two in three respondents said Barbie made them more aware of patriarchy in the workplace. 

“I think there has been a bit of a bigger movement for men to understand where women are coming from when we speak against the patriarchy,” said Shenot. 

Barbie has opened the eyes of men, portraying the reality of how women are treated in society. Essentially, the stereotypical roles of women and men in society are reversed in the movie.   

“I thought it was interesting how the movie portrayed the difference between Barbie World and the real world and how it sucks for women,” said Dylan Mayo, a freshman at UNCA. “Watching it, I felt like I was kind of the problem.”

Barbie encourages both men and women to disregard gender stereotypes and society’s expectations of who they should be. 


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