Barbie vs. The Men, and The Real World
“Barbie,” the summer blockbuster about the world’s most famous doll, has a lot to say about the intersection of art, commerce, gender, identity, and a life well lived. But one reason it has raked in more than $1 billion in global box office sales is because it offers a provocative and funny send-up of mind-numbing, soul-crushing corporate conformity. Barbie is totemic and has had the power to brainwash, inspire, derail, and draw in the girls who have played with her for decades. The movie explores all of that, largely unflinchingly, even if it does pull a few of its punches. Mattel may be having the last laugh: It’s raking in handsome piles of cash from all of this – at movie theaters, in sales of related merch, and in its newfound role as the purveyor of franchise toys that can be made into boffo, franchise films. Emma Gray is a columnist with MSNBC, co-hosts the podcast, “Love to See It,” and is the author of “A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance.”
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