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The Problem with Barbie, the Movie!

It is hard to picture a little girl’s childhood without a doll. The doll fosters her innate desire to nurture. Much of her time will be spent watching her own mother and eventually other women that will arguably shape her worldview about what it means to be a woman. Mother or not, women are primarily the nurturers of society. From the cornhusk doll to Barbie and to the modern American Girl doll, dolls have influenced femininity. It’s vital to understand that how little girls are nurtured greatly impacts how they will nurture.  

So what happens when that relationship is infringed and little girls no longer have role models in women that foster nurturing? Does this impact future families? The movie Barbie could not be any more disappointing. It violates all the social norms that have previously shaped healthy families. First, Barbie-the doll, is meant for little girls from ages 6-10. Yet, the Barbie movie is rated for 13 year-olds and older. It begs the question why a movie about a small child toy is produced for adults, or teens, who have outgrown toys. Nostalgia? Maybe that needs to be checked at the door because how we spend our money sends the message to Hollywood that this is what we want. 

What is harmful about the message of the new pink Barbie movie? The first scene shows little girls bashing, not nurturing, baby dolls and defiantly saying they don’t want to be mothers. Multiple times a phrase “Beach you off” is said to reference masturbation. In two separate scenes Barbie notes Ken’s bulge and her lack of a vagina to a group of men. There is a man femininely dressed as a Barbie, which insinuates that men make better women than women do since they evidently didn’t pick a woman for this character. The irony in all of this is that men are presumably the obstacle to Barbie’s happiness. The movie further portrays the problems in this world stem from the patriarchy and that is the cause of  women’s alleged oppression. Because men are so bad (and these characters really are an insult to men in general), Barbie has to get away from Ken where she can finally be happy on her own. The point of the movie shows Barbie leaving Ken and saying they don’t need each other; men and women are alienated from one another. The movie ends when Barbie enters a gynecologist’s office because what makes her a woman is having a vagina. This surprisingly supports conservative views and may conflict with the new gender ideology that states genitalia is irrelevant. In this baffling, confusing movie, Barbie said she didn’t have a vagina; so is this a plug for controversial gender-affirming surgery? 

In truth, men and women compliment each other and complete society in unique ways. What has caused nearly 50% of marriages to end in divorce, and Utah ranking 11 out of 15 top states with the highest divorce rate? If that is not enough, marriage rates have dropped 60% since the 1970s and are at an all-time low of 31 marriages per 1000 unmarried people. Further, multiple researchers and articles have linked that quality marriages are associated to the well-being of individuals in decreasing depression and increasing life satisfaction. It’s also troubling to consider that nearly 620,327 abortions were performed in the US alone in 2020, and in Utah 184.7 abortions were performed for every 1000 births in 2020. Finally, in order for a country to maintain its population, the replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman. Many populations are at risk or predicted to disappear completely such as the Italians, South Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, and Filipinos to name a few. It is hard to imagine a world where cultures slowly disappear. Is there a connection to the messaging of bashing dolls and abortion, or the lack of desire to have children? What about the possible link to feminism and unmarried adults? These are questions worthy of consideration from any decent adult concerned about the trajectory of the basis of humanity-the family. 

And while not every couple will marry or choose to have children, this is a new trend, not a historical norm. It is worth asking why we are seeing troubling statistics that are influencing our culture. The root word for culture is cult, and cult is associated with religious beliefs. Beliefs are often shaped by social norms, and social norms are the result of perpetual messaging and ideologies that are eventually accepted at large. One movie may not be wildly influential in changing a culture, but if progressive messaging gets enough financial support, we can be sure that more movies will be made. That is the danger. Every ticket purchased is an endorsement, whether someone liked the movie or not. It becomes a social norm rooted in beliefs that were shaped by entertainment that feeds the minds of society.  

Children deserve to have adults who seek to guide them in the ways that have produce healthy civilizations more than to befriend them at the cost of spoiling their minds. Women and men are equal in all their brilliant differences. Those differences and roles matter. In general, men are needed in their masculine strength of guiding and protecting; and women are needed with their beautifully feminine ability to nurture. When men and women are in harmony, families will flourish. Healthy families are the foundation to every prosperous society. When men and women lose sight of their strengths, families crumble, and so do societies. 

(1) State Rankings – Divorce Rate State By State
(2) Is Your State in Step with National Marriage and Divorce Trends?
(3) Marriage: More Than a Century of Change

(4) The Effects of Marriage on Health: A Synthesis of Recent Research Evidence. Research Brief

(5) What the data says about abortion in the U.S.
(6) Utah Department of Health and Human Services: Utah Vital Statistics on Abortion 2020
(7) Population decrease is irreversible. How will we manage the decline of humanity?


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