The Barbie movie at the Oscars

Η ταινία της Barbie στα όσκαρ

Amid the glitz and glamour of Oscar season, discussions about last year’s films are being played out everywhere. Certainly with Poor Things and Oppenheimer sweeping both critics and awards, we have neglected some films. For us, the Barbie movie possibly needed a little more recognition.

A few words about Barbie's movie

For those who haven’t watched the film, the plot begins in the fantasy world of Barbieland, where different versions of Barbie and Ken coexist.  Margot Robbie plays the protagonist role Barbie, who from the beginning of the film struggles with existential doubts.

Barbie versus Reality

Barbie’s ideal façade and image is disrupted when the protagonist suddenly develops unusual characteristics such as bad breath and cellulite. Subsequently she starts a journey of personal questioning and searching. Thus, accompanied by Ken, played Ryan Gosling, Barbie has to find a solution to her unusual abnormalities.

barbie Along the way, she meets different characters, from marginalized dolls to rebellious teenagers, each of whom offer a unique addition to her journey.

The alternation of the fictional world with the real one prompts both the heroine and the audience to reflect on traditional stereotypes. Also, the contrast between the two worlds forces us to question conventional notions of beauty and perfection. To reflect on the social roles that the norm considers to be inherent in each gender. It offers, in effect, a scathing critique of patriarchal norms and the world we live in more generally.


Patriarchal Norms and Social Roles

At its core, Barbie encourages viewers to redefine femininity and masculinity on their own terms and to embrace diversity and authenticity. Barbie’s refusal to conform to societal expectations serves as a powerful message of empowerment. Thus, it encourages the audience to challenge patriarchal structures and stand up for equality. Through its provocative narrative, the film sparks conversations about the need for a more inclusive and just society.

In addition to the messages, the music choices were not only commented on but also a trend for several months. The film’s song, what was I made for” by Billie Eilish won Best Original Song at the Oscars. A song that explains the complexities of patriarchal society. It also captures the universal struggle women face as they struggle with the social pressures and gendered restrictions imposed on them. It is a raw representation of the world and the socially “correct” roles a woman ought to have.

«I am Kenough»

Of course, the song dedicated to Ken was even more successful. The viral phrase «I am Kenough» ” is prevalent both online and on t-shirts in stores. The lyrics refer to the effects of patriarchy on the male gender as well. Specifically, the difficulties of emotional expression and the “taboos” surrounding masculinity and the “perfect man”.

It creates the false impression that vulnerability for men is a sign of inferiority, weakness and shame. It’s a song that certainly deserves commentary and thought provoking. However, is it the main point of the film? It’s the first thing worth mentioning.

The Social Impact of the Barbie Movie

Barbie carries a powerful message about gender inequality, highlighting the struggle for women to gain recognition and equal opportunities.Despite the film’s emphasis on empowering female characters, the reality check comes with an unexpected Critics’ Choice award win for a song about Ken. The only award the film had received, prior to the Oscars, was for the male character. So we see the continued prevalence of male dominance in society, nullifying the film’s message of gender equality.

Moreover, it raises multiple issues regarding women. It touches on views about her body, her attributes, her autonomy, her sexuality. The stereotypes and the difficulties she faces from her family to her professional/social environment. Themes that should have been the main reason for the film’s recognition. But yet, the male lead song was awarded.

What was I made for?

Even at the Oscars, the discussions were centered on the performance of I am just Ken”. Possibly, at that moment Barbie wondered “What was I made for”. Perhaps Margot Robbie herself.

Even if we love Ryan Gosling, Barbie is a movie that represents reality. It’s a cynical reminder that even in a movie that revolves around a woman, the heroine is forgotten. Many times, no matter how much we scream, try, fight, the society we live in will degrade our worth.

So yes, we need to question the reason we were created. In the face of patriarchal structures and social norms, our roles and limitations have long dictated. However, the potential for change exists. A change that starts with each of us individually.

Article writer: Katerina Faili

Translated by: Nectaria Lambropoulou

Article Editor: Celia Paraskevopoulou

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