Barbie: Misery as Only Feminism Can Deliver
It is said that hurt people hurt people. No statement could sum up the ideology of modern feminism better. And no movie does as good a job of illustrating this warped worldview than Barbie.
The central destructive notion of liberalism is the idea that we are all individuals maximising our freedom and pursuing happiness. I have much sympathy for this approach when it comes to relations between the citizen and the government. I am liberal in the sense that I want to be free from authoritarian control in order to be able to pursue my own happiness as I see fit.
What I believe liberalism gets wrong is the attempt to apply this concept outside of the relationship between the individual and the state and extend it into the realm of family and human relations more broadly. Yes, freedom from intrusive government is likely to provide opportunities for each individual to pursue their own happiness, but it is simply a lie to suggest that maximising freedom from your fellow human beings is a recipe for happiness in your own life.
This is why smart feminists like my friend Louise Perry are now making precisely the opposite argument. In writing her last book, The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, Perry said that as a feminist the best advice she can offer young women is to “get married and do your best to stay married”. In other words, happiness is derived not from your freedom from other people but from the bonds you form with them. Indeed, as any parent knows, the most meaningful things we ever get to do are the very things that constrain our freedom the most.
But Barbie wasn’t made by smart feminists. And it shows. If the poison pill of hyper-liberalism is to encourage us to see ourselves as atomised individuals, the liberal feminism of Hollywood depicted here is worse still.
You’re not actually free to pursue your happiness by yourself, says Barbie, because you live in a world which is run by one of two competing gangs:
In Barbieland, the protagonist lives in a magical realm surrounded by fellow dolls. This section of the movie, which looks like a diversity consultant threw up over a casting shortlist, is best enjoyed as an unintentional satire of a world without men. The female dolls take out the trash in pretty pink bins while wearing miniskirts, there is no running water and the various models of Ken, the men of this magic land, such as they are, are neutered and relegated to their rightful place: the sidelines. The Supreme Court is obviously all female. So is the President - she wears a sash like a beauty pageant winner for extra gravitas.
When Barbie is forced by a contrived set of circumstances to travel into the real world, she and her loser accomplice Ken (all men in this movie are losers) discover that things are exactly the other way around.
Men in the “real world” ogle women, slap their arses and drive big black cars (boo!). Barbie goes from matriarchy to patriarchy and boy does she hate it. Ken, on the other hand, snorts that patriarchy right up both nostrils and returns to Barbieland to make it some sort of deranged teenage boy’s dream house, complete with mini-fridges, table football and songs about keeping women down.
That, my friends, is the choice: matriarchy or patriarchy. Pick your champion.
The modern feminist movement is intent on brainwashing young women and, increasingly, the rest of us, to see the relationship between men and women as one of competition. The insanity of this worldview - or the fact that it is increasingly making women miserable - is by the by for the ideologues who are advancing it.
But, fear not, for Barbie has a solution. When she returns to the Barbieland Ken has now ruined with his toxic masculinity, Barbie and her fellow plastic girlbosses work out what to do: