Random Conversations

Barbie – When a Movie Sparks a Conversation

Barbie – When a Movie Sparks a Conversation

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Love it or hate it, people are talking – and that is great!

I am in the “loved it” camp, and that was a bit of a surprise since I did not own a Barbie when I was a child. Quite honestly, I never quite knew what to do with dolls, but my friends had Barbies, Barbie houses, Barbie clothes, and I thought they were beautiful.

What I expected was a fun two hours, and the movie delivered that and more. As it turns out, it is also thought-provoking – or it can (“Ken”?!) be.

Global Conversations

Today, as I write, the NY Times published an article about Barbie playing (or not) in the Middle East. The movie has been banned in Kuwait and Lebanon – but not in Saudi Arabia or Dubai. The full article can be found here.

I loved learning that people elsewhere in the world are talking about the issues raised in the movie – not only Americans, and not only women.

Negative feedback had been shared with me a few days earlier. A male guest visiting from Italy did not like it. He believes that it is biased against men and the patriarchy references did not sit well.

After listening to his point of view, I built on it. I agreed that men were targeted – and also targeted were capitalism (big time!) and women who relinquish their voice and power. He smiled and nodded politely, but I doubt his perspective changed – and that is more than OK.

Conversation is not about swaying others to our opinions. It is about creating a space where diverse opinions can be shared.

Going back to Saudi Arabia for a moment, I was taken by the comments of young men interviewed after watching the movie. One said he saw himself. Others said they wanted their mothers or whole families to see it. My favorite was a reflection from one man who said,

“The message is that you are enough — whatever you are.”

That is a message well worth sharing!

Moving Forward

We live in times of fractured communication. We can be demeaned and derided for our beliefs when shared with someone who holds a different point of view. How wonderful to be entertained and have fun while exploring multiple perspectives.

I’m not suggesting that we should break out in song and dance (or pink!), but we can listen to each other with respect. We can create a safe space to explore different ways of thinking. When we do, we create a ripple effect that helps bring positive change into the “real world.”

Just like Barbie, we can outgrow our box.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Cathy Joseph is the author of the Random Conversations blog and is currently seeking representation for her book, The Art of Having a Delicious Conversation.

© 2022 Cathy Joseph. All rights reserved.

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