Barbie has taken the world by storm, breaking box office records in its release weekend for a female director. The movie, with its witty and humorous moments, has sparked important discussions about gender disparities, both in society and the workplace.
In this article, we will explore some of the significant themes depicted in the newly released film.
- This Barbie is everything
The Barbie doll has been associated with various professions, portraying her as an astronaut, doctor, president, physicist, and even a Nobel prize winner. While all Barbies are depicted as talented, beautiful, and successful, it’s essential to recognize that not all women aspire to be like Barbie or fit these unrealistic standards. The movie delves into the unimaginable expectations placed on women, particularly in the workplace, to be exceptional and perfect in order to prove their worth. In addition to highlighting the significance of these roles, it’s crucial to acknowledge the oversight of essential workers and women who choose not to work. Moreover, there exists a hypocrisy that working women frequently encounter, as they are unfairly labelled as “bossy” when they assert themselves and hold positions of authority. This theme critiques societal and workplace norms, highlighting the pressures that women face to conform to these ideals.
- This Barbie has no seat at the table
Barbie’s diverse roles, including executive positions, are contrasted with the real-world representation of gender disparity in leadership positions. In the movie, as she enters the headquarters of Mattel, it becomes apparent that the top leadership roles are predominantly held by men. This mirrors the existing gender gap in the workforce, where only 24% of women occupy C-Suite roles, despite comprising 42% of the global workforce. The film draws attention to the persistent gender inequality in society, shedding light on the need for further progress in achieving gender balance in leadership positions.
- This Barbie cannot cover every issue
The success of the movie has attracted both praise and criticism. Some argue that it fails to address all the diverse issues faced by women, such as motherhood, disabilities, race, and economic disparities. However, defenders of the movie acknowledge that its primary focus is on challenging the unrealistic expectations placed on women, recognizing that they cannot single-handedly address every issue faced by women in various circumstances. In the concluding monologue, Gloria, the mother and receptionist at Mattel, candidly shares the struggles of being a woman, perpetually expected to cater to everyone and everything. She emphasises the impossibility of meeting such expectations and firmly asserts that this burden should not be placed on women in the first place and therefore neither should we to this movie.
In essence, the movie offers a compelling insight into the unrealistic expectations placed on today’s women in Western societies. While Barbie’s intention is to empower women to be anyone they choose to be, the film also highlights the complexities of navigating a world with diverse cultural and business expectations. The key message encourages lifting each other up and working together to combat systemic inequalities. We are ready to take that step and work against the system. Are you ready to take that step with us?