This article contains spoilers for the film Barbie. Rollerblade ahead at your own risk.
Thanks to Barbie, it’s shaping up to be a *very* pink summer. Yielding over $162 million in its opening weekend—a new record for films directed by women—Greta Gerwig’s fantastical ode to womanhood continues to wow us here at Well+Good. Amid high-energy dance numbers, Ken’s multiple renditions of Matchbox 20’s “Push”, and costumes meticulously designed to look like versions of the doll ‘fits they emulate, the film bravely champions themes surrounding our continued need to dismantle the patriarchy—and the impossible beauty standards that Barbie herself has long propped up.
It all unfolds in an idyllic place called Barbie Land devoid of patriarchal influence, where all of the Barbies past and present live in seemingly perfect harmony with one another and their Kens. In every way that men currently wield disproportionate power in the real world (in the workplace, in romantic relationships, in social settings, and so on), the Barbies instead gain similar influence in the happy-go-lucky world of Barbie Land. (And in the film’s portrayals of the real world, by contrast, we see tongue-in-cheek nods to the rampant sexism that women still face today.)
Even the star-studded cast itself lends credence to the film’s message of women empowerment. Just take America Ferrera, who portrays a mom that accidentally gives Barbie an existential headspin in the film. As a young actress, Ferrera was often cast in roles that involved jabs at her appearance, weight, and heritage, á la Ugly Betty and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Her résumé makes the film’s self-referential “¡Sí, se puede!” line (taken from Ferrera’s Disney Channel movie Gotta Kick It Up! and spoken by her IRL husband Ryan Piers Williams at the end of the film) so profound.
Curve icon and My Mad Fat Diary star Sharon Rooney, AKA Lawyer Barbie in the film, also grants plus-size women, like me, a version of Barbie we deserved to have growing up. And trailblazing trans actress and model Hari Nef’s portrayal of Doctor Barbie is nothing short of poetic, considering the current legislative fight for gender-affirming medical care.
Certainly, there’s plenty to love about the world in which these gender-norm-busting Barbies live—or rather, exist eternally. (There is no death or dying in Barbie Land.) Perhaps most obvious are all the ways that Barbie Land puts its woman-esque inhabitants on top of the social and political hierarchy, not just as doctors and lawyers but as Nobel Prize winners and Supreme Court justices and even the President. And on an esoteric level, there’s the dreamy fact that they never have to face any degree of trepidation about what they’re meant to do, how to do it, and whether they’ll succeed with flying colors.
Okay, maybe that last bit sounds nicer in theory than it’d really be; there’s something satisfying about the natural humanness of agency and choice and figuring it all out on your own.
Still, there are a few practical things we can’t help but envy about Barbie Land. From Barbie’s always-stocked fridge to having BFFs as next-door neighbors, here are the things we wish we could transport to Earth, like, yesterday.
7 mood-boosting parts of Barbie Land that we wish were IRL
1. The iconic Barbie Dream House
“I wish I lived in Barbie’s massive, multi-story, all-pink Dream House located in a picturesque neighborhood with equally fabulous women as neighbors. I’d take that over paying Century City rent prices any day. Signed, someone who lives in Los Angeles!” —Alexis Reliford, Director of Social Media
2. Every single day is the best day ever
“The unflappable sunniness about life Barbie has at the beginning of the film is nothing if not enviable. When she says (while performing a choreographed dance with the other Barbies) that today ‘is the best day ever—so was yesterday and so is tomorrow,’ she means it authentically. Life isn’t perfect, but loving the life you live so much, every single day, and having gratitude for it is a quality of Barbie Land I’d snap up in a second.” —Alexis Berger, Deputy Editor
3. Wounds take seconds to heal, and fridges are always stocked
“Sometimes, I wish the inside of my fridge was made of a sticker like Barbie’s; it seems her groceries never go out of stock! And in Barbie Land, the ambulance vans open up and expand into state-of-the-art mobile emergency rooms, which would be amazing to have during real-life emergencies. Plus, injuries heal almost instantly in Barbie Land. My weak, sprain-prone ankles could only dream of bouncing back that quickly.” —Amelia McBride, Editorial Assistant
4. You can float around instead of walking
“I love how Barbie just floats off of her house and into her car in Barbie Land. Being able to float anywhere in real life sounds like a relaxing and a fun way to get around!” —Alyssa Gray, Digital Designer
5. Horses get a ton of hype
“Give me a world with more horses, please! But not in the manly, patriarchal way that Ken thinks of horses—in the free, feminist way that the true Horse Girls know horses to exist. Horses are the ultimate symbol of independence, a ‘wild’ only the likes of Velvet Brown (National Velvet) and Katy McLoughlin (Flicka) could tame. I’d love a world with more horses, only, in Human Land, they’re exalted as the feminist icons they’ve been all along. Yee-haw.” —Francesca Krempa, Associate Commerce Editor
6. You can have “Beach” as a job
“Perhaps the most feminist thing about Barbie is that she achieves so. dang. much. She’s a doctor, she’s a lawyer, she’s an astronaut, she’s an all-around boss lady—and that’s great. I love that for her, and I love what that symbolizes for all of us women, by proxy. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but envy Ken’s job of ‘beach’—not lifeguard, so goes a common misconception, but just ‘beach.’ Yes, I know that his beach-lying career is a put-down, indicative of his inability to achieve much else. And yes, there’s more I’d like to achieve in life than just beaching it up. But I also don’t dream of labor, and to me, ‘beach’ seems about as close to a dream job as there ever might be.” —Erica Sloan, Senior Lifestyle Editor
7. Everyone is just so… warm and positive
“I love the warm way that the Barbies interact with one another—the montage where they’re just smiling and saying, ‘Hi Barbie!’ to each other makes me so happy, as does the overall positivity and wonder with which they wake up in the morning and move through their world. Of course, there’s more to being a human than being happy all the time. But at face value, I think that brightness and positivity is something I’d love to see more of in the real world.” —Helen Carefoot, Lifestyle Writer
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