The ‘Barbie’ Movie Will Explore Loss of Innocence, Forced Sexualization

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

Barbie mug shot from latest Barbie trailer

Credit: Warner Bros.

The new Barbie movie trailer has revealed more than we’ve ever known before about what will almost certainly be the summer’s biggest blockbuster, and we think we may be starting to piece together what this movie is about.

Related: Margot Robbie Never Wanted To Play Barbie – She Just Wanted To Make ‘Barbie’

First of all, it’s very clear from this trailer that the main theme of the Barbie movie is going to be the loss of innocence – and, most specifically, the modern loss of girlhood innocence, and what that looks like.

Piece it together with some of the information garnered by Vogue from the stars of the film, and the picture of the pinkest movie since Legally Blonde starts to become a little more clear.

If you break down the new trailer, it looks like the Barbie movie is – as we predicted yesterday – going to play with the story of the Adam and Eve creation myth, applying it to the loss of childhood innocence as we know it today.

BarbieLand is The Garden of Eden

margot robbie barbie land
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Ryan Gosling Crashed a Barbie-Only Sleepover In The Most Hilarious Way

As indicated in the trailer, everything in BarbieLand is perfect every day. Everything is pink. The weather is so beautiful that the houses don’t need walls. Perfectly choreographed dance parties with original songs are an everyday occurrence.

All the characters in BarbieLand also follow perfect doll logic. Barbie’s feet remain pointed when she takes them out of her high-heeled shoes; her shower runs with no water; she floats down from the top floor of her house every day, just the way it so often happens when little kids play with their Barbie dolls.

“This is the best day ever,” Barbie says in the trailer, “And so is yesterday, and so is tomorrow, and so is every day from now until forever!”

That is the heart of the magic that seems inherent in BarbieLand: Everything is perfect and wonderful and magical every day, because BarbieLand is the fantasy of what “perfect” adult life should look like in these play spaces – when you’re little, it’s all a fantasy until you happen to imagine otherwise.

What’s happening to Margot Robbie’s Barbie in the movie seems like the perfect metaphor for what happens when you start to imagine otherwise: You’re playing with your friends, having a Barbie dance party, when all of a sudden a thought pops into your little head out of the blue: “You guys ever think about dying?”

Suddenly, everything stops – because this thought is not a child’s thought. This is a thought that belongs to the creeping act of age, and it becomes clear very quickly that this is not compatible with what BarbieLand is.

Barbie starts to think “grown up” thoughts and doll magic stops working; her shower is cold, she falls off her roof, and her perfectly pointed feet become horrifically…flat.

The Forbidden Fruit Is a Birkenstock, Not an Apple

kate mckinnon barbie movie
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Ryan Gosling Crashed a Barbie-Only Sleepover In The Most Hilarious Way

This is the beginning of a journey for Barbie, and it’s a journey that a fairly disheveled Barbie – played by Kate McKinnon – tells her she’s going to have to take whether she likes it or not.

This is the first correction that the Barbie movie is clearly making to the Garden of Eden story. If you read the myth as an allegory for the loss of childhood innocence, it’s a folly to say that Eve chose to take the apple. Young girls – the ones who most often enter puberty first, and sometimes before they are properly prepared – do not have any choice as to whether or not they continue to age into maturity, or when it happens.

It therefore makes much more sense that the choice Margot Robbie’s Barbie is offered, between the pink high heel that represents her old life, and the ugly brown Birkenstock that represents the truth, isn’t a real one. Of course any little girl would want to stay in the BarbieLand fantasy where high heels don’t hurt and you can be cute all the time with no consequences, but that’s not how it works.

Barbie’s feet are already flat. It’s happening. Disheveled Barbie says she needs to take this journey – forsake the high heel, take the Birkenstock, and go to the real world.

“You have to want to know.”

Kate McKinnon’s Barbie is another interesting new feature, because unlike the other perfect dolls, her dress is ill-fitting, her hair is mangled, her makeup is smudged, and her home is covered in doodles. McKinnon reflects the well-loved Barbie of a girl who has lived through her entire childhood.

This ties into something Hari Nef said in an interview with Vogue: When given the elaborate, perfect costumes she wears in the movie, she made the executive decision that the man who owns her doll is a gay doll collector in the West Village, who only pulls her out when he has friends over to show them her new designer outfit.

All of the Barbies will clearly have backstories, and we wonder if this story will tie in Toy Story-esque elements about what it is to be Real and Truly Loved, and how that can make all of life feel more Real – and how being loved often means allowing the true, imperfect version of yourself shine through on the outside, no matter how that looks.

Regardless of the goal, there are plenty of beautiful and fun things that await Barbie in the Real World, and it even seems like she was having fun at first – until something happens that would NEVER happen in BarbieLand.

The Sexualization of Barbie in the Barbie Movie

all of the barbies from the barbie movie dance together margot robbie in front
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Barbie Enters the Real World in Latest Trailer

In the Real World, Barbie and Ken are in for a rude awakening – in their skin-tight, bright rollerblading outfits, they stick out like sore thumbs, and with their perfectly molded proportions, a lot of the attention they’re getting is a kind that they don’t understand.

In BarbieLand, Barbie and Ken don’t have any sexual feelings, towards one another or anyone else. A line in the first trailer hinted at this, when Ken asks Barbie if he could stay over, and he didn’t have an answer when she blankly asks, “Why?”

As Margot Robbie explained, she doesn’t see Barbie as a sexual creature.

She’s a plastic doll. She doesn’t have organs….If she doesn’t have reproductive organs, would she even feel sexual desire? No, I don’t think she could. She is sexualized. But she should never be sexy. People can project sex onto her. Yes, she can wear a short skirt, but because it’s fun and pink. Not because she wanted you to see her butt.”

So, when some man in the trailer decides that the way Barbie is dressed is “asking for it,” and slaps her on the behind, she gets in trouble for her (arguably correct) reaction to punch him directly in the face. (Memes of Barbie and Ken’s mugshots are already going viral on Twitter.)

Teenage girls have this kind of jarring and confusing experience this all the time. One day you’re walking around thinking you’ve got the cutest outfit in the seventh grade, the next a full grown man is yelling comments at you from across the road that you don’t fully understand; or else a teacher stops you in the hall, measures your skirt, tells you it’s “distracting,” and sends you to the office.

You don’t know why this is happening to you all of a sudden  – but you know it makes you feel extremely uncomfortable in your own skin, like you’re in trouble for something you have no control over – when really, you’re in trouble because those men couldn’t control certain feelings about you.

This is the reality that Barbie will have to face – and, compounded with a Mattel president (Will Ferrell) who wants nothing more than to put her back in the box and back in BarbieLand, it looks like she’s is going to have her perfectly manicured hands full when the Barbie movie joins us in the Real World on July 20.

What do you think the Barbie movie is going to be about? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments.

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

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