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7 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Barbie

Opinion

December 29, 2023

From the first doll you got as a present to the recent film on the screen, Barbie has been inspiring us for - well, for as long as we can remember. She has been our favorite, our inspiration, and best friend. We grew up with Barbie, and vice versa. Whether she was an astronaut, chef, race car driver, reporter, princess, mermaid, or rockstar, Barbie was and still is a role model to girls.

With the recent Barbie movie out this year, this film has made us truly reflect on our childhood and possibly where we stand as people. The Barbie movie really questioned who we are in this life, and even made us shed a few tears for our younger selves. Here are 7 things that really resenated with me throughout the movie and growing up with Barbie.

Barbie Broke the Barrier

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Barbie was the first doll to really challenge the genderized roles given to women. Throughout the 1900s, women were raised to be housewives and caregivers, given the responsibility of cooking and cleaning, all while looking fantastic for her husband once he got home from work. She was supposed to look her best, bear children, and attend to the needs of her family. These standards pressured women into what a "typical" housewife/mother should be.

It wasn't until Barbie came along that these expectations were changed. She was the first doll who looked like a grown woman and not a baby doll that enforced nurturing roles. Suddenly, little girls could envision what their lives were like as women of society and not mothers of the household.

Barbie owned a car, her own house, she was self-sufficient and independent. She was a boss if she wanted to be, she could be president whenever she wanted, there were no rules. It was up to the girl to decide who Barbie wanted to be that day. She could be as girly as you wanted her to be, and still fly her rocketship to the moon all on the same day. She was classy and elegant, yet resilient and strong.

Standing Out From The Crowd

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In a world full of Barbies and Kens, it's okay to be an Allan and Weird Barbie. Each one of us is unique, so why try to conform to the expectations of others? I think it's beautiful knowing that no one else in the world has the same shaped scar in the exact place as you.

No one has that mole that you hate. No one else's hair falls effortlessly like yours. Know that the things about yourself that you hate, others love. Others wish they had your freckles, they wish they had green eyes or your wavy hair.

There are many things we wish we could fix and change about ourselves. But standing out is much more valuable and desired. Would you want all your friends to like the same things as you and look exactly like you?

No, because it would defeat the purpose of having someone else to go to for a different perspective when you need advice. If someone else looked and acted exactly like you did, why go to them at all if you know what their response is? Be proud knowing that your personality and the way you look and act is uniquely you, and no else could replicate that.

You're Beautiful…I Know It!

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A moment from the movie that really impacted me was when Barbie just entered the Real World and is trying to find the person playing with her. She gets these images of who is playing with her, and afterward she recalls the feeling as “achy, but good.” Barbie looks around her and notices life. People laughing and talking, a distressed man, the wind rustling the trees above, and kids playing. She looks to her side, and sees an old lady reading a magazine. “You're beautiful”, she states. “I know it”, the lady replies.

This response displays pure confidence. This interaction between the elder lady and Barbie showed me just how beautiful all of us are. Forget about the flaws, the imperfections, the insecurities.

Focus on who you are today. The version of yourself that you always aspired to be is staring back at you in the mirror. As cheesy as that sounds, be confident in the person you see before you. If you focus so much on your insecurities, it shows. Being confident means changing your mindset. When someone says “You look beautiful”, or “You look pretty today”, may we take that as the opportunity to say “thank you” and truly mean it.

Maybe It's Barbie And It's Ken

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You are not your girlfriend or boyfriend. You are not your style, or what you wear, your looks, or your features. Barbie and Ken's relationship is never really defined in the movie.

Even if they were dating or together, one's sole purpose isn't to be the other's girlfriend/boyfriend. It may be a role or part you play, but it isn't your title or define who you are.

You are not someone's significant other, you are much more. You are not just a friend, sister, mother, aunt, uncle, father, brother, you are much more. Find out who you are outside of that role, outside of that relationship.

It was always Barbie and Ken. Ken the boyfriend, Ken the accessory, Ken the afterthought. Maybe now, it's Barbie and it's Ken.

Women Speech

This part of the film, was just so relatable in explaining some of the struggles women face. I was just so shocked at how women are so professional and poised, but at the same time, they could also feel hurt and broken inside. Women struggle, women fail, we make mistakes, we cry, we're elegant, we're torn; we're all these things, good, bad, and ugly.

It amazes me how much is expected from women, yet they go beyond what is expected. Women are so much more than what they're given credit for. They're mothers, wives, caregivers, friends, sisters, teachers.

Be a little kinder to yourself, and remember of everything you've been through. You are strong, you are enough, you are beautiful.

Ordinary Barbie

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“She just has a flattering top, and she wants to get through the day feeling kinda good about herself.” Isn't that how we feel sometimes? We want to feel pretty so we change our clothes from sweats to jeans and put on make up, and it instantly makes us feel better. It's impossible to live up to "Barbie standards".

The perfect shade of blonde hair, thin figure, symmetrical face, and perfect makeup, it's hard to keep up. We are not perfect, BarbieLand is the dream but it's not reality. And it's in these moments that I appreciate the diversity seen in Barbies today. Girls play with these dolls and see themselves.

Barbies may all look the same, but not all girls do. Some of curvy, others are petite, some have disabilities. We're not built the same, and neither should Barbies.

Growing up, there was always a white and black Barbie. No Asian, no Hispanic, just the two options. I didn't mind playing with either one, but now it's nice knowing that girls have that option. Now that the girls who would play with Barbies are all grown up, sometimes we just want to get through the day. Some days we won't feel like Barbie, and that's totally okay. I'm glad Greta Gerwig decided to modernize Barbie, in that she wants to be human.

Being Human

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The most impactful part of the movie was reflecting “what were we made for?” Make mistakes, cry, fail, laugh, try, because that's what makes us human. We have this one life, and in the end, we die.

We don't live forever, and I think that makes our life and time more valuable and precious. We don't get a redo or another chance at life. This part of the movie really made viewers reflect on who they were, who they are now, and who they wish to become.

The little girl inside of us, had all those fantasies and unrealistics dreams. Some of us are now adults and have to deal with the responsiblities of an adult. We grew out of this innocence and into the challenges of life.

We want so badly go back and play with Barbies, when we didn't have to worry about life. When the only things we worried about were what Barbie was going to wear. And now we seem to worry about everything, from the choices we make to how people will judge us. And it's so tiring.

We think about and want so badly to relive our childhood. To gain back the innocence of the little girl who was ready to take on the world. But we forget how beautiful it all is, being human.

Growing up, living the life you dreamed, crying from a setback, smiling and laughing at a memory. Barbie was always an idea, a concept for girls for gererations long after Ruth Handler died. But living, being human? That's valuable, that's timeless.

Conclusion

I learned a lot from the Barbie Movie. A lot of it was nostalgic and reminiscent of my childhood. I'm glad that the movie wasn't just about Barbies living their life in BarbieLand.

There was a real story behind it that went beyond my expectations for the movie. I didn't expect to actually reflect on my life, and just how important Barbie was for me growing up.

Barbie played a part and influenced many girls to become the women they are today. This movie isn't just for the little girls inside us, but also for our mothers. They were little girls at one point too.

They had dreams, they were filled with wonder and amazement. I'm sure that at one point, they dreamed of gifting their daughters Barbies that they used to play with.

So be kinder to yourself. Heal the little girl inside of you. She too had dreams. Remember with Barbie…you can be anything.

Samantha Ferrer
300k+ pageviews

Writer since Jul, 2020 · 26 published articles

Samantha Ferrer is a 21-year-old in California and is currently in her fourth year of college. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with close friends, and binge-watching her favorite shows and movies. Samantha also enjoys watching Rom-Coms and John Hughes movies. In her free time, you can find Samantha thrift shopping, and enjoying/looking at nature.

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