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The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie makes lasting impact when it hits theaters

Barbie movie poster. (Fair use photo)

This summer, it was confirmed by many major news sources—including CNN and the Wall Street Journal—that a blonde everybody knows is balancing the economy in the USA.

This famous blonde made a huge impact when Greta Gerwig’s Barbie hit theaters around the world. 

(The remainder of this article will include spoilers from Barbie)

The film begins in Barbieland, where women run everything. The viewer is taken through a typical day in Barbieland where Stereotypical Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, is having a perfect day, which is normal for her.

She wakes up feeling refreshed with a heart shaped waffle plopping perfectly onto her plate. She goes to the beach and sees Ken, played by Ryan Gosling, who spends his perfect days trying to get Barbie’s attention. Barbie finishes out her day with a perfect party in her Dreamhouse where she accidentally asks the other barbies if they ever think about death. At the loud silence, she quickly changes the subject, hoping no one caught her slip up. 

By the next morning, it seems that things in Barbieland aren’t so perfect anymore. Barbie is sent on a quest to the real world to find the girl who’s playing with her to stop the irrepressible thoughts of death that are seeping into Barbieland from the real world.

While this film’s title character is Barbie, Ken did not shy away from the spotlight. The movie  included his cover of ‘Push’ by Matchbox Twenty and an original song, ‘I’m Just Ken.’ 

In ‘I’m Just Ken,’ Gosling displays his range of talents, including singing and dancing, all of which are done with great passion. In his song, Ken expresses his doubts in himself with the lyrics, “doesn’t seem to matter what I do/I’m always number two,” and questions his meaning in life; “Is it my destiny to live and die a life of blonde fragility?” By the end of the number, Ken finds his worth with the help of the other Kens and proudly states,  “I’m just Ken (and I’m enough)/And I’m great at doing stuff.”

Ryan Gosling sings his heart out in “I’m Just Ken.” (Fair use photo)

This musical-inspired 80’s reminiscent number proves, despite controversies, that this film was successful in its goal: showing that with all differences aside, men and women should feel enough just being themselves. By the conclusion of the film, the Barbies and Kens realize that it is possible to live in peace while also continuing to express what is important to them. While the Kens repay the Barbies by removing their Mojo Dojo Casa House and putting Barbie’s Dream House back in its rightful place, the Barbies assign them positions of power in Barbieland, narrated,“Well, the Kens have to start somewhere. And one day the Kens will have as much power and influence in Barbieland as women have in the real world.”  

Barbie touches on many themes of girlhood and growing up, which has resonated with girls all around the globe. Lots of girls dress up in pink to go see the movie, and use audios on TikTok to make their own ‘girlhood’ compilations. 

The box office phenomenon gave audiences countless comedic scenes to laugh over, but also conveyed the message of feminism and empowerment for women as was beautifully said by Gloria, played by America Ferrera. Her speech to Robbie’s Barbie shed light on the most heartbreaking realities of being a woman in today’s society, including comparison and the desire for women to entertain those around them.

“It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.

You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman but also always be looking out for other people.

You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood.

But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful.

The girl bosses in Barbie prepare to take back Barbieland from the Kens and get rid of the mojo dojo casa house. (Fair use photo)

You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.

I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know,” said America Ferrara’s character.

Another one of the many impactful moments of the film comes when Robbie’s Barbie realizes that Ken has taken over Barbie Land. She cries about how much she hates the change to which Gloria responds, “Oh honey, that’s life.”

“But that’s terrifying,” Robbie’s Barbie says.

The film uses the image of Barbie, a doll that most girls played with when they were younger, to convey the idea that growing up requires change, and that nothing can be stagnant forever.

This realization eventually leads Robbie’s Barbie to decide to become a human. After Greta Gerwig uses an expertly directed montage set to ‘What Was I Made For?’ by Billie Eilish to show all the pain and beauty of being a human, Robbie’s Barbie takes in all of the heartbreaking and awe inspiring images and says, “Yes.” 

Robbie’s Barbie ultimately decides that it’s better to feel, to live, to grow, to change, to experience pain and heartbreak, to fall in love, and to “do the imagining, not be the idea,” then live as a doll where everything is perfect forever.

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About the Contributors
Michaela Horan, Copy Chief
This is Senior Michaela Horan's second year on staff at the Lancer Spirit, and this year she is the position of copy chief. She's the author of the Rolling Hills series, the first of which was published in 2021. She enjoys writing music and doing theater and loves being on staff.
Emma Desrosiers, Assistant Editor-in-Chief
Senior Emma Desrosiers is cordially occupying the position of Assistant Editor-in-Chief for her second year on staff. In her free time, Emma enjoys playing field hockey on her club team, hanging out with her friends and family, and listening to music.

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