The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

“Barbie”: More Than A Doll


The highly anticipated film “Barbie” was released to theaters on Friday, Jul. 21, 2023. A live-action storyline about the world-famous Barbie doll has been in the works since 2009, which was then taken over by Sony in 2015 and has been worked on ever since. Through all the changes in storyline, casting and directors, we were finally given a live-action “Barbie” directed by Greta Gerwig. 


Gerwig is no stranger to directing well-known films, with previous features including “Little Women” and “Ladybird.” She has also done screenwriting and acting for a number of other movies. One of the most common themes of Gerwig’s features is girlhood and coming of age. While a movie about the popular doll, Barbie, may not immediately lend itself to that storyline, Gerwig tells her story from a perspective unique to her style. At first glance, a story about a doll may be seen as superficial, but this story dives deep into the realities of girlhood, womanhood and essentially personhood. 


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“Barbie” is a movie written by a woman, for women; just as the doll was created by a woman, for women. Barbie was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, who named the doll after her daughter Barbara. The image of Barbie would shift over the years to show young girls all possibilities of career, fashion and adventure that life has to offer through Barbie’s many endeavors. 


Much of the dialogue in “Barbie” is written in a juvenile way. This isn’t done in a way to make the characters look less intelligent, but rather to remind us that Barbie and Ken are dolls that are played with by little kids. They mimic the voices of children playing with their toys, crafting storylines from the mind of a child, though the vocabulary may be rudimentary the imagination is prolific. This child-like language fades when Barbie and Ken enter the real world but comes back as we return to Barbie Land. 


In the film, Barbie is learning about herself at the same time she learns about the real world. She realizes that not everything in the real world is what she dreamed it would be. One of the most human experiences we deal with is coming to terms with reality. Reality is not always dream houses and hot pink cars, it can be harsh and jarring. What we want to do about our grievances teaches us how to be human. 


We see Barbie have ups and downs, both in Barbie Land and the real world as she thinks about her purpose and what she wishes to achieve. 


“Barbie” isn’t just a coming-of-age movie about the doll, it also recognizes the hurdles we humans have to face when growing up. After all, many of us grew out of our dolls and toys as we aged into adulthood and became a part of this real-world ourselves.


In the real world, women don’t have the same path to success as men do. Women don’t see themselves represented in leadership positions. Women don’t walk the same streets men do. But in Barbie Land they do. Whether it’s the Barbie Land from the film or the universe we put our Barbies in, there was always a place where women were represented as doing it all. We as an audience are a part of this movie too. 


Greta Gerwig directs and writes movies for women and girls. She reminds us that it’s okay to be unsure and feel our emotions. It’s okay to have growing pains, no matter what stage of life you are in. 

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Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine. 

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