Ken You Say “Keeping the Status Quo”?

By Kayla Ross, Back Page Editor

I am a feminist. And, I love the color pink. In fact, I love pink and glitter and dresses so much this has become integral to my personality. There are four Barbie Dreamhouses in my basement at home and well over 50 Barbie dolls. I have seen every Barbie movie ever made. 

Naturally, I put on my pink mini-skirt, my six-inch platform heels and my best glitter eyeliner to see the new Barbie movie. As the movie opened, it was everything I had hoped for. The casting was perfect. The costuming was excellent. The coordinated Dua Lipa dance number brought these dolls to life on the gilded screen in front of me. 

I recognized several dolls and playsets I still have, and I watched fondly as my old toys were fantastically brought to life. 

Just 10 minutes after that, this Barbie started to panic. I didn’t want Barbie to have an existential crisis. I didn’t want Barbie to have thoughts of death. 

When I was five, Barbies were bought for happy occasions. I got the ones in pretty Easter dresses for my birthday, and I bought the fun ones that came with Play-Doh with all the money I made from the tooth fairy. 

They were something me and my grandmother bonded over — how she taught me to take care of objects that are meaningful to me. These dolls are part of how I developed a niche for doing hair and makeup and taking pride in my fashion sense. 

I related to Margot Robbie’s Barbie in all the ways I didn’t want to. I get nauseous too. I panic too. But I never wanted it to be something Barbie was capable of. 

I found myself wishing I related more to Ken. Ken got to have fun. Ken only had to worry about the beach, the sun, his horse obsession and his hair. He is Kenough; he didn’t have to feel insufficient or think about his role in life. All he had to think about was Barbie. 

Ken got to have all the fun and Barbie had to save the day and figure out how real life worked. 

I liked the movie. But I didn’t love it. I think the people who walked out of that movie disappointed wanted a form of an escape from all the existential thoughts of death. I wanted to walk in that movie holding hands with my sister, ready to sing songs like the ones we memorized when we were just little. We did not get the reprieve from the real world we so desperately anticipated. We got a slap in the face and a reality check about our own insecurities, and we were told Barbie was responsible for half of them. 

Barbie was not responsible for my insecurities. She mended them. She gave me the confidence to not think it’s silly for wanting four different careers all at once. She gave me the confidence to wear a pink frilly dress to the grocery store. Most importantly, she gave me some of the best memories I have with my little sisters. 

The Barbie movie is entertaining to watch. But it is not sublime. I wanted a nostalgic, fun movie that would make me laugh and make me feel the way Barbie movies did when I was little. 

This movie proved to me that Mattel should stick to making kids happy and not actively trying to make them cry. 

And, maybe, that I need to schedule my first gynecologist appointment.