The "Barbie" movie began a cultural reset this summer

By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief

Over the past few years, movies have been a gray, monotonous landscape with boring and directionless plotlines. I was over the movies. It was too much money to pay for mediocre content. But then, a brilliantly marketed movie flew across my radar leaving me blinded by pink.

“Barbie” came out on streaming platforms on Tuesday, so I’d like to take the time to sing the praises of a movie that was part of the biggest cultural reset in recent years.

I had no clue what the “Barbie” movie would be about – no one did – but I knew that an obsession within me had begun, and I was convinced that this movie would solve all my problems. I bought tickets and saw it opening weekend with a friend. But instead of solving my problems it evoked something incredibly bittersweet inside me.

Girlhood and womanhood are things I feel so blessed to experience. I may joke that I’d rather not be a woman some days, but I truly wouldn’t trade this life despite its hardships. The vibes at the Taylor Swift Eras Tour concert was what I imagine Barbie world feels like.

However, the hardships are a reality. I do have to check under my car as I walk up to it. I can’t go most places alone after a certain time of night. And I have had to shake off strange men who think they have a right to my time or personal space. That is the reality of women everywhere, everyday, with some experiencing far worse. Can every man really say the same? Unlikely.

“Barbie” exemplified what it would mean to be a woman in a safe and happy world. They lived for their own happiness and lifted each other up – they’re real girls’ girls, not just pretend ones.

But I hear a cry of outrage: “The Kens are so oppressed in Barbie world!”

That’s so wrong, it’s actually laughable. The Kens are not oppressed and to say so means you clearly didn’t watch the movie. In Barbie world, the Kens take on the archetype of women in the real world. And even then, the Barbies never mistreat or abuse the Kens. They’re simply underrecognized, so spare us the dramatics.

Even in Barbie world, they have it better than women in the real world. The moment Margot Robbie’s Barbie steps into the real world, she is sexually assaulted and harassed.

At the moment in the movie that she returned to Barbie world to find that the Kens had taken over, I was actually sick to my stomach. They’d taken everything from the Barbies despite never being denied much of anything.

Even at the end of the movie, Barbie is the one apologizing to Ken after he stole her house, brainwashed her friends, and tried to ruin her life. She consoles him as he throws a tantrum instead of him taking responsibility for his actions.

Some people complained that the movie was a “feminist diatribe” or “too woke,” but those are people who would rather shove their heads in the sand than recognize the world women live in.

I don’t know if it’s a coping mechanism or just blind ignorance, but in no way did director Greta Gerwig exaggerate or lie in her story-telling. The girls that get it, get it and the girls that don’t, don’t.

The final monologue, backed by Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For,” made me cry for myself but also for my mom. I cried for the girl my mother was and what she gave up to raise three kids, especially the two girls who are now strong, confident and capable women. I forgot that, at the end of the day, my mom is just a girl too.

I said that I wouldn’t trade being a woman, and I mean that. I found that after this movie took the world by storm, women wanted to take care of women. They seem less apologetic, less reserved. I notice myself bending less and not feeling guilty for putting my foot down.

This movie truly helped shift the perspective on what it means to be a woman. It is something to celebrate just as much as it is something to mourn. But hopefully one day, generations down the road, life will resemble Barbie world beyond just a few glimpses at a concert.

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Warner Bros. Picture