A Feminist Screed Against The Barbie Movie

It’s Christmas Eve, today, and happy holidays to everyone, but I have nothing special to say about it. The only Christmassy thing about this blog is the fact that I was on an airplane going cross country to see relatives for the holidays when the event in question occurred. The event in question is: due to a lack of interesting choices, I was forced to watch The Barbie Movie. Everyone I know has been talking about it, plus the entire media world, all going on about how great it is. I had a feeling I would not agree, and, lo and behold, I did not. The message was basically: look how hard it is to be a woman! 

The patriarchy sucks! Well… duh. Nothing new there. 

At the movie’s climactic moment, America Ferrera gives a big clichéd speech about how if you’re too tough, you’re considered a bitch, and if you’re not tough enough, you’re considered weak! Women can’t win! (Again: duh. It’s 2023, and this is not news.) The subtext of this statement is that the world needs to change its attitude toward women so that we can succeed because we’re held back by being victimized by backward social norms. But honestly, that attitude is exactly the problem we face. Women like these in the film seem to think our empowerment is in the hands of others. According to this philosophy, we’re held back by men and our progress can only happen if the patriarchy pretty much smashes itself out of guilt. 

But the real problem is that a lot of women give a shit if anyone thinks we’re wimps or bitches. I don’t. Neither should you. 

This is a stupid way of looking at women’s situation in the world, simply because “the patriarchy” is not going to do anything except what’s in its own best interest. The fact is, you can’t change how other people act. You can’t. They’re going to keep doing this crap. You can only change how you act. And if women stop participating in this bullshit, the bullshit will stop being part of our lives. Sure, lots of people will continue to believe whatever backward things they believe, and do things like the news story I just watched where a woman is being prosecuted for having had a miscarriage. What?? Oh yeah, The hate is very real. But if Barbie thinks trying to shame bad actors into respecting women will work… well that’s so “Barbie.”  

Next time someone calls you a bitch, remind them that you certainly are, but the full term is: Badass Bitch.

I’m not blaming us women for the fact that these attitudes exist, but I am saying that lecturing people about how much you dislike their beliefs and behaviors is a pretty pointless endeavor. The only way out is to refuse to participate in it. How? Easy. It’s easier now than ever before. 

Start your own business, don’t work for assholes that keep you down or guilt trip you, don’t date men who think they’re superior to you, certainly don’t marry them, and just plain turn your back on situations that disrespect you. Do your own thing. You might be lonely, but you won’t be oppressed. And men who want you in their lives will get pretty lonely sleeping with their shitty attitudes at night.

And if you stay staunch in this, the right people will gravitate to you. 

It’s simply a fact that the world will always be full of people who don’t appreciate other people, whether it comes out as sexism, racism, or general xenophobia. You can’t change that. You have control, though, over your own life. it’s going to be harder to achieve stuff if you purposely stay in an oppressive situation. It’s a big country. Lots of places to live. Brought up in a religion that tells you you’re meant to be a servant? Stop complaining and get the hell out of it. That religion isn’t going away, you know. But you can go anywhere. Change is hard, but it’s also fun. And you know what’s harder? 

Asking the patriarchy to change in a way that’s not in its own best interest. You’ll get really bored sitting around waiting for that. 

I saw this great interview with Tyler Perry (of Madea fame) one time, where he was asked if he found it difficult breaking into Hollywood, and if the reason he founded his own production house was because, as a black man making black-culture movies, he had been rejected by the Hollywood film establishment. He laughed. He said he never even tried to make it in Hollywood. He never wanted to play the white man’s game. He had his own message and his own audience, and he never intended to work for anyone but himself. I loved that answer. That’s the attitude everyone should have. Don’t like the game? Don’t play it. Technology now gives us all the power to do our own thing, establish our businesses, and demand to be treated as professionals. That’s what I do. You can, too. 

Go ahead and be “a bitch.” It’s fun. I take it as a compliment.

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