There’s a lot to learn from the new Barbie movie. One of the points it makes is that humans tend to hate literally anything, even things that we created. That is a little bit mindblowing when you see it in such a clear picture. Some people may come out of Barbie thinking it was just colors and dance numbers, whereas others may come out teary-eyed and perplexed with feelings, and that’s mainly because of the many questions the film poses. Or rather, the answers it gives. While Barbie herself doesn’t give us the epic monologue of this movie- Gloria, the human, does, she gets enlightened by it.
There are many journeys in this film, both literally and metaphorically, leading us to different endings. Before we get into the rest of the film, I want to address the ending. My big fear when Barbie told Ruth that she wanted to be human was that the movie would end with the thought that Barbie would die eventually, but instead, we get the scene where she goes to the gynecologist, which would imply that she may be growing her legacy in a different manner. Of course, figuratively, Barbie can never die; as Ruth says, ideas live on, but humans perish. Barbie the idea will forever live on, even if she herself chose to die (sidenote: everybody knows Barbie is cool as f.)
After a little thought, I can say it’s possible that Barbie was in search of imperfection throughout her journey. Isn’t that what separates humans from dolls? When it comes to drawing parallels between Dorothy and Barbie, one lands up in a different world accidentally, whereas the second chooses to go on a self-assured journey to bring her life back into order. Just as Dorothy helps her friends on the way to the Emerald City, Barbie helps Gloria and Sasha on her way back to Barbie Land. Barbie begins as confident and sure that she and the other Barbies have made the real world a better place, but when she realizes that’s not the case, she becomes weary of herself and starts to self-doubt. This is the beginning of the transition. Interestingly, in her time in the human world, Barbie only sees the negative side of it, except for when she meets an old woman ( played by Ann Ruth, an award-winning costume designer) and realizes that everything she’s afraid of, is actually beautiful. Barbie’s self-doubt stems from the fact that she’s the “stereotypical” one, meaning that she has no career to define her, no awards, and no sports she excels in; she’s just “Barbie.”
When she notices that the real world has not been fixed just by her existence, she becomes even more self-deprecative. In Barbie Land, she solves all the problems; she’s at the top. In the real world, though, the roles are reversed, leaving Barbie no choice but to feel like she failed humanity. Barbie thinks she has to help Sasha, later Gloria, to become perfect again, but in reality, observing them gives her a chance to feel emotions and get healed in many ways herself. Who is really doing the helping here? Both of them are. Barbie is afraid of becoming ugly like “Weird Barbie,” but she comes to realize that Weird Barbie actually has it all figured out. It’s not about the outside; it’s all about the beauty inside. When Barbie sees an old woman, she tells her that she’s beautiful, and the woman replies that she knows she is. It’s interesting to see Barbie say that because 1. She’s never seen an old person before who has wrinkles in Barbie Land. And 2. She possibly wants to experience her life.
Crippling anxiety, panic attacks, and crying, she does it all in a short amount of time in the human world. It’s possible that getting the taste of these very human things allows Barbie to see a new life for herself. But, when she goes back and notices that Ken has taken over Barbie Land, she suddenly feels scared and wants to go back to her perfect life, where she didn’t have any human thoughts or feelings, so she wouldn’t care if she was brainwashed. She finally gives up because she’s “stereotypical” and not one of the “smart” Barbies and “hopes” for everything to be fixed, giving Sasha a chance to think she’s really a “professional bimbo.” At the beginning of the movie, Barbie referred to herself as “cool” and “pretty,” so of course everyone must really likes her, but to her utter shock, people don’t really care about Barbie anymore at all. Back in Barbie Land, when she gives up hope, Gloria reminds her that she’s beautiful and smart and gives her a magnificent monologue about being a woman; she takes charge again.
Barbie becomes her confident self again, yes, but something has changed inside of her. With her leadership, everything is brought back to normalcy in Barbie Land, but it’s also even better than before because Barbie helps Ken see himself in a better light too. While helping Ken realize that he’s not his girlfriend or his career (which is just Beach) or his coat, Ken’s just Ken, Barbie essentially gives herself the same lesson. Barbie then says she doesn’t know where she belongs anymore and possibly doesn’t have an ending. That’s when Ruth shows up, and it might be the fact that Ruth was a 5 ft 2 old woman with a double mastectomy that led her to create a doll that was aspirational even for herself. There can be a few ways to interpret the end of the film. It’s possible that in the grand scheme of things, Greta is hinting at the fact that Barbie has been replaced by technologically advanced toys or that people don’t even care for dolls anymore, so she’s, in essence, died already. Or we can see it as a positive thing, that she’s going into a new world of new possibilities and creating a legacy for herself because, ultimately, she doesn’t want to be the idea anymore; she wants to be the “creator.” Barbie is a doll that represents women, and she doesn’t want to be just a stereotypical idea; she wants to make something of herself (sounds way too familiar if you ask me).
So Why Does Barbie See A Gynecologist?
When Barbie closes her eyes after talking to Ruth, she sees images of women, with Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For” aptly playing in the background. She possibly comes to the conclusion that the thing she wants to create is a legacy of her own, or maybe it’s just the fact that she’s a human that’s made her excited to see a gynecologist. And anyway, that’s the big physical change she has when she becomes human (other than getting a heart and other organs too). Jokes aside, we believe Barbie wants to be a mother at some point; maybe it’s her reflecting Gloria’s thoughts and feelings too. She did summon Barbie to the real world because of her sadness, so there must be a huge part of her that shapes Barbara Handler.