We took a look at Barbie
Barbie became an instant classic and a global phenomenon, here are some reflections from our episode @ElGeekAyPodcast formulated through the perspective of three women passionate about entertainment.
Some misconceptions about Barbie
"The Barbies don't respect the Kens, this motivates women to hate men"
Barbies and Kens serve as representation of children's innocence and how we learn about gender norms. Nor Kens or Barbies are depicted as "good" or "evil", however, their lack of perspective, ingenuity and dependence lead them to make mistakes that perpetuate injustice towards both groups.
"Ken represents men as stupid and prone to violence"
On the other hand, the Kens represent problems that both men and women face in the real world because of patriarchy. Ken is not a villain, he learns the power mechanics of patriarchy and uses them because he believes that this is the only way he can gain Barbie's respect.
"Barbie was only created to make money and it's a product of capitalism"
Barbie is the story of a product that has evolved along with society, focusing on girls. Barbie Land is a reflection of an "ideal" reality based on the brand's ideology. However, Barbie learns that these ideals reflected on the marketing and Barbie Land are not true for girls and women and create unrealistic expectations for them that don't take into consideration other challenges of the human experience.
"Mattel actually has many women on leadership roles so the board is just an exaggeration"
Mattel's team represents how corporations are totally alienated from their target audience, which leads them to create empty products that do not connect with them. They also represent the gender inequality that exists in corporate environments.
What can we learn from Barbie?
Barbie focuses on representing the symbolic value of their brand and the contradictory expectations of being "the perfect modern woman". Barbie Land is a world shaped by ideas and serves as a vehicle for girl's imagination and hopes for their future, reflecting the evolution of women's roles in the real world.
In the end we have to grow up and face the real world just like Barbie. She understands that she is more than the description outside of her box, understands the power of symbols and chooses to leave Barbie Land to create new tools for change in the real world.
Barbie can't give us the ultimate solution for inequality, but it respects its purpose reflecting our society and inviting the audience to imagine change and question...
Who are we beyond gender roles?