As the Barbie movie has its world premiere ahead of the UK release (July 21), writer Lizzie Hutchison explains why she's looking forward to the much-discussed film.


Source: Reuters

It’s Barbie’s world, we’re just living in it. At least that’s how it’s felt for the past few months, thanks to the best film PR team in history. Barbie teasers, Barbie trailers, Barbie filters, Barbie collabs, Barbie pool-floats, Barbie Xboxes, Barbie ice cream, A-LIFE-SIZED-RENTABLE-BARBIE-DREAMHOUSE. Someone get them a raise.

Margot Robbie’s stylist Andrew Mukamal has frankly slam-dunked this gig, dressing her in a plethora of pink outfits, plus some inspired by historical Barbie dolls. It’s particularly pleasing as Robbie usually keeps it quite safe on the red carpet - so it’s nice to see her kicking up her (pink, stiletto) heels, and entering into the spirit of it. Contractually obliged or otherwise. 

What would Jesus think about this Barbie film?

But what would Jesus think about this Barbie film? I’m glad you asked. One preacher has already foamed off about the apparent inclusion of LGBTQ+ themes (which for everyone’s sake I hope is more than just Ken wearing pink) but from the snippets of the film that I’ve seen, I think the Big Man might have some positive things to say. 

Let’s start by addressing the obvious - body image. If a Barbie doll was to scale, she’d be 5ft 9 with size 3 feet, and enough waist room for half a liver. I mean talk about unrealistic expectations. It’s hard enough to go to the gym, never mind shaving off vital organs. So yes, they’ve cast the classically beautiful Robbie in the role of the doll. However! The film is careful to have many "Barbies" and Margot even said she wouldn’t have accepted the part if she was the only one. It’s diverse and inclusive, which I’m sure Jesus would approve of - Galatians 3.28 being a case in point. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. All little girls should be seeing themselves represented as a Barbie, even if she is wearing more eyeshadow than most makeup counters.  

I believe much is made of the Barbies having jobs, which shifts the focus from their appearance onto their opportunities, and in doing so, creates a more interesting story. 

Ken however, does not. Is this man bashing? Possibly. The film’s tagline: "She’s everything, he’s just Ken" is funny, but I suppose a little offensive. Although this role reversal does subvert the "dumb blonde" stereotype associated with Barbie, I wouldn’t call it feminism, because a) that’s about equality of the sexes and b) I can’t be bothered to get into all that. But since we’re all created in his image, I doubt Jesus would condone being dismissive of one party. 

It’s diverse and inclusive, which I’m sure Jesus would approve of - Galatians 3.28 being a case in point.

There’s a delightful creative element to this film, which I think is important. You only have to look at the beauty of creation to guess that the Lord is a fan of thinking differently. Barbies are designed to be played with, encouraging childrens’ imagination. I used to coerce my brother into playing the eponymous game "Action Man and Barbie" where this unlikely duo went on a host of fantastical adventures. Admittedly, Action Man did get fed up with Barbie’s constant outfit changes, but there’s a certain type of stiletto that a girl needs when she’s scaling a slime soaked precipice, and you can’t deny her that. The film’s set design and costuming suggests that we’re about to embark on a whimsical adventure. And despite it potentially including a couple of sketchy themes, I’m excited.

Copywriter Barbie - over and out.