I unapologetically love Barbie. Growing up in the mid-to-late ’80s, Barbie was my go-to doll of choice; sorry Lady Lovely Locks and Rainbow Brite. A career woman with an endless array of interests and hobbies, Barbie has done it all. Hell, she’s even been president five times. Not even FDR can claim that! Constitutionality of that little facet of her career aside, I’m extremely excited for a Margot Robbie-led live-action movie about Barbie, which was announced this week.
Barbie has always done her own thing, pursued her own interests, kept the same close circle of female friends for over 60 years (while welcoming new friends into her life), and has never accepted that there are any limitations to what she can accomplish. How many people can you name that have been, at one point in their life, a rock star, surgeon, astronaut, and a cowgirl?
Wait, is that sounding familiar?
Barbie was Buckaroo Banzai before Buckaroo Banzai was Buckaroo Banzai.
Think about the possibilities of a live-action Barbie movie for a moment, when you consider that the live-action Barbie has the capabilities of encompassing all that Buckaroo brought to us, and more.
Think of the delightful absurdity of her reality. Everyone already knows Barbie has done it all, so there’s very little need for exposition—the film could just launch straight into the world, like Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension did, and immerse us fully in a universe where one woman (and her friends) can, and has, done it all.
Too often Barbie gets written off because she’s a lady who loves clothes and is never without makeup. I mean sure, that’s one facet of her, but also consider this: She’s a loyal, independent woman who values her female friendships and never dims her light for any man. I would watch any movie that tells that woman’s story! Tell me how you’re not getting excited at the prospect of a Barbie movie, yet?!
I think Margot Robbie is the perfect choice to bring Barbie to the big screen because she has the right balance of what the OG version of Barbie looks like (Barbie has branched out in her inclusivity, thank god), has great comedic timing, and can portray her many facets. Barbie, in Robbie’s hands, is not going to be one-note. I’m encouraged that she’s producing it as well. More female voices in the production of a Barbie movie is going to be a good thing, because it’s incredibly easy to write off Barbie as a dumb blonde stereotype who moons away for Ken all day long and can’t commit to a career. We’re living in a period in our society where women are finally getting the opportunity to tell stories about other women instead of men telling women’s stories, and approximating what they think we want to see and hear. A Barbie movie with a bunch of men in charge would probably have a much different flavor to it, and undoubtedly revolve around hers and Ken’s relationship and how Barbie looks, with enough titillating shots of Barbie in a bikini to keep the dudes happy. Gross. No thank you.
Now, here’s the other thing about Barbie—she hasn’t always nailed being multi-culturally inclusive, but she’s come a long way since 1958. A live-action Barbie movie absolutely requires the presence of her friends Christie, Teresa, and Kira—and not just on the periphery, either. Just like Barbie, these ladies have tried on a lot of careers in their time, and lead a very rich life full of travel and exploration. They need to be included to show that in Barbie’s world, women can literally do anything. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? How many movies operate from that premise?
I’m ok if they exclude Ken though. Ken’s boring.
I love Barbie because she doesn’t just dream in a world of possibilities, she goes out and pursues. If done right, a live-action Barbie movie could explore her world, her female friendships, and her unique attitude toward life. The team leading the charge on this Barbie movie have a rich world to draw from, and I’m very hopeful looking toward what they will do with it.
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