When I first heard of the Barbie movie, I turned up my nose and thought, “Oh great another movie that is about commercialism and the invitation to consume." So when the invitation came from my Men's circle to see Barbie, I paused before saying yes. Men and the women in their lives were invited to attend, then we would go for coffee afterwards and discuss the film. Quick side note: 5 years ago, I co-hosted a men's & women's circle, and we used dolls as a prop to guide our discussions and create our intention. Back to the movie, I had no idea what I was about to experience and went into the experience with a critical eye. I was pleasantly surprised by the messages that came through this film. I feel called to see the movie again because I wasn't prepared for all the insightful and sometimes subtle messages shared.
As an intuitive counsellor, my deep motivation is to help my clients bring awareness to the patterns/habits that are playing out in their lives and ultimately keep them stuck. Usually, by the time someone seeks out my services, they have already had some sort of awareness that change needs to happen. This awareness is the essence of the Hero’s Journey: a call to action, an initiatory experience and a return to the village with what you have learned. Even though I know that most Hollywood movies follow this story arc, I didn’t expect the message of Barbie to be as powerful as it was.
Either you are brainwashed or you are weird." ~ Barbie
We first find Barbie waking up in Barbie Dreamland, getting the lay of the land and an introduction to all the other Barbies and the Ken’s. After a while, Barbie starts to have intrusive thoughts, which motivate her to search for answers. This inspires her to reach out for help, she is given guidance that she must go to the Real World to get the answers she is looking for. In what feels like a powerful nod to the movie The Matrix, Barbie is invited to make a choice: Does she want to keep wearing high heels or try on some Birkenstocks? Which of course represents the red or the blue pill in The Matrix. Barbie eventually realizes that she needs to individuate and find herself, which involves re-creating herself, her life and her relationships. In the process, she becomes empowered and returns to dreamland with her newfound awareness and needs to overcome some challenges after she returns. During the film, many themes emerge, related to toxic masculinity, the patriarchy, and how we relate to ourselves and each other. There are also many powerful messages that I believe women could benefit from hearing. These messages are in my opinion, a layer of healing balm for the lack of self-worth and self-esteem that I believe women are carrying.
I have done my best, to be somewhat vague about the movie in case you decide to watch it. I wanted to focus on what excites me about this movie. Every hero’s journey includes a call to action or a call to adventure. So not only does this film include that story arc, but in my opinion it plants a powerful message/seed for the viewer. An invitation to self-reflect and see where the themes of Barbie might be showing up in your life. That moment of pause and contemplation can grow into something very poignant. I first became aware of the Hero’s Journey in 2013 when I heard a voice whisper in my ear: “Hero’s Journey”. At the time I had no idea what that was. Not long after I stumbled upon the movie Finding Joe, this movie blew my mind. An actual map of the story that we are all living. As I have said it starts with an invitation/call to adventure. So if Barbie can be that call, in my opinion, that is a very good thing. The thing about the call is that if we ignore it, the call gets louder in the form of struggle in our everyday lives. I believe that we are in the midst of a great change in this world and that can look like suffering individually and globally. If a movie like Barbie can be a catalyst for internal change and ultimately waking up to our divinity, I find that very inspiring, this shows me that the world is ready for change and transformation.
As for the group discussion after the movie, it was amazing. I didn't get into the deeper layers of the movie, but the writers did a pretty good job of engaging the audience on some important topics while planting seeds for others. The conversation about the movie was quite rich and moving as different perspectives and interpretations were discussed. The dialogue could have gone on for hours. My hope is that this is the first of many such experiences. Another interesting fact to share is that many people have shared that they have seen the movie multiple times, inspired to experience with friends and family. This says a lot about the impact! So if you haven't seen it already, I recommend checking it out.