The Barbie Movie: Feminism and the Existential Journey

The Barbie Movie: Feminism and the Existential Journey
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As a child of the 1980s and 1990s, watching the Barbie movie brought forth emotions and nostalgic memories. Barbie, the iconic fashion doll, has been a significant part of many childhoods, symbolizing beauty, independence, and empowerment. The journey of watching her on the silver screen as an adult has revealed deeper layers, transcending mere entertainment and touching on themes of existential psychology, feminism, and the patriarchy.

Barbie: A Feminist Icon

Barbie has often been at the center of debates about feminism. Critics have questioned her portrayal as the epitome of an unrealistic beauty standard, emphasizing physical appearance over intellectual capabilities. However, a closer look at her evolution over the years paints a different picture. The modern Barbie has diversified in appearance, body types, and careers, sending a powerful message of inclusivity and representation. Through her various personas, she breaks the traditional mold of gender roles and encourages girls to dream big, pursue their ambitions, and challenge societal norms.

Existential Psychology: Finding Purpose and Identity

Existential psychology delves into the fundamental aspects of human existence, exploring themes such as individuality, meaning, and self-awareness. Surprisingly, the Barbie movie subtly touches on these profound psychological concepts. By depicting Barbie in various roles and careers, the film showcases her journey of self-discovery and the pursuit of her passions. It reinforces the idea that identity is not rigid but a continuous process of exploring and redefining oneself. This existential exploration resonates with young viewers and adults who have faced or are currently facing questions about their own purpose and identity.

Feminism in the Barbie Movie

The Barbie movie goes beyond merely presenting Barbie as a feminist icon; it actively promotes feminist ideals and values. The film emphasizes the importance of sisterhood, cooperation, and empowering one another, breaking free from the age-old narrative of women being pitted against each other. By encouraging young girls to support and uplift each other, the movie contributes to building a more egalitarian society where women are united in their pursuit of equality and respect.

Challenging the Patriarchy

While Barbie’s journey embodies feminism, it also subtly addresses the patriarchal underpinnings ingrained in society. The patriarchal structure (the Kendom shift in Barbieland highlighted this perfectly) perpetuates gender stereotypes and norms, limiting women’s opportunities and potential. However, the Barbie movie takes a stand against such restrictive standards by showcasing Barbie as an agent of change. As she navigates through challenges, takes on leadership roles, and challenges conventional means, she becomes a symbol of resistance against the patriarchal system that seeks to confine women to specific functions.


The Barbie movie’s impact goes beyond nostalgia and entertainment for those who grew up with the iconic doll. It delves into existential psychology, feminism, and the patriarchy, delivering essential messages to its young audience and reminding adults of the significance of self-discovery, empowerment, and collective support. By celebrating Barbie as a feminist icon, the movie challenges societal norms. It inspires children and adults to break free from limiting beliefs, embrace diversity, and pursue their dreams unapologetically. As Barbie continues to evolve, her legacy as a symbol of strength, resilience, and empowerment lives on, leaving an indelible mark on future generations.

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