June 18, 2024

BARBIE ON THE BIG SCREEN

By Carmen Greger

ICONIC & EVER-EVOLVING PLASTIC FANTASTIC

A petite, 11.5 inches tall, and forever young, Barbie has been gracing our universe with her bewitching beauty and beguiling wardrobe for over six decades.

An icon of femininity, she stands larger than life, symbolizing both a paradox and a paradigm. As you navigate the saga of Barbie, I encourage you to hold tight to your seatbelts – because, like Ken’s fast car, it’s one wild ride!

The Rise, High Heels & Fall Flats: Barbie’s Multifaceted Journey

Our legendary protagonist Barbie was born on March 9, 1959, under the aegis of the toymaker Mattel, co-founded by Ruth Handler. Inspired by a German fashion doll, Bild Lilli (who was rather infamous for her risqué persona), Barbie broke into the conservative 1950s America with a bang and a bit of a scandal.

March 9th has since been established as National Barbie Day…. Wow.

As the first mass-produced doll sporting adult features, Barbie was an overnight sensation. She traded in the modest frocks of her doll predecessors for form-fitting bodices and saucy skirts. With a full range of exciting playsets, from the Dream House to Ken’s car (did you know his last name is Carson?), and their boat, she introduced a revolution in how children played with dolls. She even brought Ken along, setting new #couplegoals long before hashtags even existed.

Fast forward to today, Barbie is not only a fashion diva but also a professional connoisseur, and she has her own pink car for cruising around town.

She has traversed through countless careers, from Doctor Barbie saving lives to Vet Barbie rescuing animals, Bridal Barbie setting trends, Babysitter Barbie handling tots, Fashionista Barbie taking over runways, and Chef Barbie whipping up culinary delights. Indeed, she is the epitome of “Who runs the world? Girls!”

However, Barbie’s journey hasn’t been all pink skies. Throughout her reign, she has faced numerous criticisms, predominantly around her unrealistic body proportions and the negative impacts they might have on young girls’ self-esteem and body image. Indeed, her iconic silhouette with a tiny waist, curvy hips, long legs, and ample bosom is the stuff of plastic, not human, anatomy.

But, the good news is – Mattel listened.

Over time, Mattel introduced a diverse range of Barbie dolls, embodying multiple body types, skin tones, and occupations. They ushered in a new era where every girl could see herself reflected in her favorite doll. While these changes haven’t entirely erased the early controversies, they have significantly watered down the criticisms.

Fast forward to 2023, and Barbie is ready to strut her stuff on the big screen, courtesy of Director Greta Gerwig’s upcoming fantasy-comedy film. The script, co-written with Noah Baumbach, stars none other than Margot Robbie as our beloved plastic fantastic with Ryan Gosling as her sidekick boyfriend, Ken. Projected ratings for the film are looking promising, hovering at a comfortable 7.5/10 and based on pre-release buzz and was given 5 stars by The Independent .

Barbie’s movie tells the tale of a doll who dares to step out of her plastic perfection into the flawed, beautifully chaotic world of ‘real’ humanity to embrace her true identity and discover the meaning of life.

Stepping out of her comfort zone and ditching her high heels for bare feet and a pair of comfy flats, Barbie consciously turns her world upside down and discovers the power of authenticity and embracing imperfections. It’s a journey that teaches us all a valuable lesson – change is uncomfortable, but stagnation is fatal.

So, put on your brightest pink and your sparkliest flats, grab your pals, step out of your own comfort zone, and catch this movie the day it releases, which just happens to be the same day as the highly anticipated Oppenheimer debut! Today! Don’t miss out on the official Barbie movie YouTube teaser/trailer; hysterical!

As for other nostalgic characters getting a cinematic treatment, imagine Fred Flintstone trading his stone age car for a Tesla in a modern eco-awareness comedy.

Or the Scooby Doo crew setting up their own supernatural detective agency, “Ghost-busters-style,” where Shaggy ironically turns out to be a fitness enthusiast and Scooby can’t get enough of kale smoothies.

The possibilities are as boundless as Barbie’s wardrobe.

Barbie’s journey reflects our collective progression towards a more inclusive and celebrated, gender-equal world. She has both sparked controversies and inspired millions to dream big. As you reminisce about the Barbie you once played with, remember that the very traits that made her relatable and inspiring were instilled by us.

So, go out there and live your life to the fullest – packed with dreams, adventures, changes, and above all, authenticity. Because, just like Barbie, you are unique, special, beautiful, one of a kind, and perfectly imperfect. And that’s the most beautiful part.