Photo Credit: Warner Brothers
I never really got into Barbies as a kid. I had a few, but there was always a separation between me and them with their long legs, perfect smiles, and flowing blonde hair. I would stare into their sparkling blue eyes, and while I didn’t have the words for it as a child, I felt like Barbie Land wasn’t made for me.
So while I was beyond thrilled to see the Barbie movie, I walked into the theater carrying a ghost of hesitation in the back of my mind—that echo of worry from my childhood, that I would watch the movie and yet again be disappointed that Barbie Land would feel too far away for me, a curvy queer Hispanic woman.
I was delighted to have that worry dashed in such a spectacular way.
There are many important messages and conversations that have entered the mainstream of society because of this movie. But the one that was the most personal for me happened at the turning point of the movie.
When Barbie returned from the real world to find that the patriarchy had overrun Barbie Land and all the other Barbies had been brainwashed, all hope seemed lost. She returns, defeated, to the safe haven of ‘Weird Barbie’s’ house, where she met a collection of the glorious misfits of Barbie Land—all of those who did not fit into society in the same way the traditional Barbies did.
This group was unaffected by the brainwashing because the patriarchy of Kendom didn’t benefit them. It was because of these Barbies that Barbie Land was saved. If it weren’t for them, the brainwashed Barbies would have been unable to see the structure they were stuck in and would have been unable to make a change.
This is a lesson we need to take from Barbie Land. Uplifting the voices of minorities and oppressed people is the key to breaking free from this system that is actively harming us all. Because no one knows more about an oppressor than the oppressed.
Women need to lead the way to a new life for us all, yes. But specifically queer women, women of color, and women with disabilities. These are the people whom the patriarchy most ardently silences. Because without their voices, we would not be able to see just how deeply this structure runs within all that we do and think.
I left the Barbie movie not only feeling represented but also celebrated and empowered, because Barbie Land is not only a place of equality for everyone, but those of us who have been the outcasts for so long are actually the key to creating the gentle society that we are all searching for.
Leean, Soultype 9, is a student in the NEATO Pathway 2 – Discovery program. She is from sun-soaked California, USA, and is currently traveling the world while writing, drawing, and collecting incredible experiences from all over.