Selime Sümeyye Abatay: "Is the Barbie movie really a manifesto?"

Selime Sümeyye Abatay: "Is the Barbie movie really a manifesto?"
Date: 8.8.2023 15:30

Milli Gazete columnist Selime Sümeyye Abatay writes on Barbie movie. Here is the full article.

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Barbie is launched in 1959 as a new product of the Mattel company. In fact, Barbie was inspired by Barbara, the daughter of Jewish couple Elliot and Ruth Handler, one of the founders of Mattel. Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
Unlike ordinary small dolls, Barbies are designed as toys that represent an adult woman. Of course, this would cause a big change in the toy world, even in many areas. That's what happened. If you remember, I wrote an article last week where I analyzed only two scenes of the Barbie movie. In the excerpt I made in that article, this change of Barbie was emphasized:
“Barbie changed everything. Then it changed everything again.”
Don't be fooled by the fact that the name of the movie is Barbie. This is not a children's movie. This movie, where everyone from seven to seventy wore pink clothes, was actually written for adults and is full of scenes that even children should not be exposed to.
So what does it tell?
In the movie, Barbies living in Barbieland (Barbie world) believe that women in the real world are perfecting their lives and establishing a matriarchal world order. There are many Barbies in Barbieland. Barbies in different professions such as doctors and writers, Barbies of different ethnicities such as Asian and African, etc. And of course Barbie's partner Kens (Ken dolls were also inspired by Barbara Handler's brother Kennet). Kens belong to the lower class in Barbieland and their day only gets better when Barbies look at them. In the lead role of the movie, Cliche Barbie, the first produced Barbie, takes place. Of course, there are also characters representing LGBT individuals in the movie.
In the movie, the cliche Barbie's reflection on death, embarrassment, and the emergence of cellulite cause Barbie to travel to the real world and face some facts. The realities that Barbie faces are criticisms such as commodifying women, encouraging consumerism, and creating a perfect woman image. With this film, Mattel paints an image of being self-critical and is therefore seen as a feminist manifesto.
At the beginning of the film, when the narrator says “Barbie changed everything”, he refers to the new modern woman image produced by removing the female image from the traditional woman role, and when he says "Then he changed everything again", he refers to gender again.
In fact, the case is different. On the one hand, Barbie criticizes patriarchy and defends gender equality, and on the other hand, continues to fuel the consumption frenzy with the campaigns prepared for the marketing of the Barbie movie. As a result, there is no manifesto. Mattel is only expanding its market by trying to normalize gender. And it doesn't just do it by breaking box office records.
With the Barbie trends and marketing strategies that started long before the movie was released, it created a huge market for itself. So much so that the news that the pink stock was running out spread. Not only the studio of the movie, but everywhere was painted pink. Pink clothes, pink burgers, pink lemonades, eventually even a pink coffin was produced. Yes, you heard right, pink coffin. In El Salvador, before they die, people pre-order pink coffins decorated with Barbie images. Alpha and Omega Funeral House, which produces these coffins, although they are currently produced in limited numbers, said that they aim to produce more pink coffins. It's only a matter of time before this Barbie market triggers the Barbie Syndrome, the disease of looking perfect in women.
This movie, which was released in the past days, has the feature of being the first movie of Barbie. You see, this is an important milestone for Mattel. In addition to Barbie, Mattel has many brands such as Slime dough, Monster High dolls, Uno card games, and Mattel says he wants to create a Mattel universe just like the Marvel universe. It seems that new dangers are at our door that will fuel the consumption frenzy.
The most important thing is that our people are dying to become a consumer society. On the one hand, people who follow the crazy trends of Barbie that don't think, question; focus only on spending, people who die to look like Barbie, on the other hand, people who die because they can't find bread to eat...


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