It’s a Barbie world these days and we’re all just living in it.
As Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster film Barbie continues to rake in money at the box office, moviegoers in Winnipeg are having conversations about what the famous doll and its live action counterpart mean to them. Some see Barbie as a symbol, a role model and even an inspiration.
“When I was younger I loved the idea of being whoever I wanted, I think that was the thing is that I had my Barbies and I could just make up an entire story for them and they could have different careers and they can have different relationships,” said Jade Mayer. Mayer owns and runs a local business called Jade Chocolates and made special Barbie-themed sweets for the movie’s release.
Mayer was excited to see the movie and hopes to bring their six-year-old daughter along for the next screening now that they know it’s family-friendly. Mayer said they hope their daughter will see the movie and be inspired to feel that they can do anything in life.
“I just want her to be able to see that she can be whoever she wants to be. She can go into any career path,” said Mayer. “There’s no restrictions at all and I think that’s really great.”
Kim Germaine saw the movie at Scotiabank Theatre over the weekend and said viewers could learn a lot from watching it. Germaine didn’t know what the movie was about, but a friend of hers told her it was a must-see.
“Not everybody has to be the same, that we’re all special in our own way,” was a lesson she said those who see the movie could take away from it.
The movie also stuck out to some viewers because of its deeper messages.
Sue Sorensen, an associate professor of English at Canadian Mennonite University who also teaches visual art and film, said if viewers are watching carefully, the movie is a “wonderful satire about sexism and patriarchy and women’s rights and women’s rights to be independent and in control of their own bodies.”
She said she was impressed by how the film was able to enlighten and entertain audiences.
“If people were very dubious about what Barbie represented, Greta Gerwig has managed to shake that up and use the Barbie moment that’s happening right now to talk about women’s rights,” said Sorensen. “And I thought she did a really good job of it.”
Gaby Grata, who was also at the Scotiabank Theatre over the weekend and has upcoming plans to see Barbie, said she’s been speaking with friends about the character of Ken. Grata said to her, Ken represents the opposite of toxic masculinity and someone who supports their partner in everything she does.
“I just think it’s really interesting how this movie is showing that and all these men are getting mad about it,” said Grata. “It says something about our society to be honest.”
And Mayer — a lifelong fan of the toy — said it’s also important that a company like Mattel, who produces the doll, has allowed Barbie to evolve over the years, all the way to the big screen.
“I understand that Barbie, when she first came out, was very stereotypical in the sense of her physicality and Mattel, I’ve noticed, has really taken that and taken the criticism and evolved over the years,” said Mayer.
“She has a whole bunch of different body types now, they’ve come up with different races, which is great and it’s really cool to see a company understand people’s criticism and actually take accountability and do something about it.”
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