How the Barbie movie merch undermines the Barbie movie script.
I loved this read. I was looking forward to your take on this and am so glad this popped into my inbox this morning. The way industries use subversive messages to enhance their bottom lines has been on my mind, when thinking about all the strikes happening in the film and television industry specifically, when many of their most successful projects point the finger at the problems with and destructiveness of capitalism they still rake it in and steal from the creators in reality. Why would anyone expect Barbie to be different?
Applause! Applause! I have been waiting for this one and you did not disappoint. It's the whole have your cake and eat it too. You cannot claim to do two conflicting things at once. It cannot be. And that has been my whole issue with this movie from the beginning. Claiming to be one thing in front of your face, while being a whole other thing behind your back. I am not against this movie, but I am against the smoke and mirrors here. As I am against it in the beauty industry as well. As always, thank you for your take!
Jessica, how do you always hit the mark so perfectly??
That Eastern Airlines Ad 😳😳😳
Jessica, brilliant as always!
Another banger, and as a trans woman, I appreciated the ways you accounted for trans people in this piece ❤
Thank you so much for your work, Jessica. It has changed my life. 💗
I want to share this article with everyone, it so perfectly summarizes the two-faced double speak of the day within the easy to understand context of this one simple movie. One of your best pieces!
thank you for keeping me sane!
My fiance is losing his hair and has taken up regimen of pills plus a foam he must scrub into his head daily which is gross and sticky and unpleasant. He came in the room and said I can't believe I have to do this every day for the rest of my life. The smugness I felt!!!! Welcome to my world, my man. Welcome. Brilliant post as always :)
This was so beautifully put... "The more people opt in to a particular beauty standard, the more normalized it is. The more normalized it is, the more difficult it is for others to opt out without facing emotional, social, financial, and political consequences." It stopped my heart briefly x
Excellent piece. Can't wait to read your book!
Love the description of "diverse" campaigns. Makes me feel less like a "not like that" meme when they still seem off to me even though they are supposedly doing what I asked!
Having now seen the film - I was struck by how beauty-sickness and consumerism is hiding in plain sight in the film itself, not just the marketing & merch campaign around it. Sure it was fun, but the main feeling I left the cinema with after seeing so many perfect-looking women having all the fun (both the barbies and the "human" characters) was "I'm not beautiful enough". It felt like one big feature length ad for Mattel - essentially saying "hey we know Barbies have been problematic for a while now, but don't worry, we're aware of it, so you can go back to buying them without feeling guilty now!"
The film actually made me feel more oppressed than liberated as a woman - preyed on by big brands trying to sell me nostalgia, beauty, perfection, fun retro clothes! etc all through the guise of "art" and campy fun.
Another fantastic essay, Jessica. Thank you. (And, because I'm oldster enough to know, in the very front row of that Eastern ad is Ali MacGraw.) xo
I feel like the way people keep positioning the movie + its weird politics as "just fun!! :)"/something silly for the girls is going to become the self care of 2023.... double whammy of encouraging consumerism AND completely defanging decades of feminist thought 🏾