Exploring Societal Beliefs in the Barbie Film: A Reflection on Modern Ideas

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I loved reading your book “GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change.”

You were ahead of the curve writing about Barbie way before the film entered our psyche.

For instance, how did you know Barbie’s strong pull on young girls? I remember you saying in a speech that you would NOT buy Barbie dolls for your daughters.

How did that work out?

Furthermore, do you agree with Greta Gerwig about the expectations placed on women by both their culture and themselves?

In other words, I think all women are now ready to be GUTSY and live a whole, not a plastic, life!

I would love your thoughts.


Free to be me!!

Dear Free to be me!!!

Recently, the world of cinema has witnessed the release and appreciation of the groundbreaking film “Barbie.”

Directed by Greta Gerwig, this movie takes a bold step away from the iconic doll’s stereotypical associations and delves into contemporary societal constructs.

The new Barbie film provides a fresh perspective on modern ideals and challenges prevailing norms.

Reimagining Barbie: Breaking Stereotypes

In addition, the Barbie film seeks to break free from the traditional mold associated with the iconic doll. The storyline navigates the complexities of identity, self-expression, and individuality in a world increasingly acknowledging diversity’s importance.

In response to your question about “no Barbies” for my daughters.

Hummm. As I look back, I wanted them to grow into modern, competent women who were more than their body type or more than their relationships with the males in their lives.

Interestingly, one daughter thought Barbie was gross and was busy with her creative art projects. Her younger sister thought Barbie was fab and got Barbie dolls from her friends, who felt sorry for her.

As adults, they are both strong, competent women. Did Barbie have an impact on them? They both said, “Not really.”

In my GUTSY book, there is a chapter titled, Brains and Dolls with a quote I love:

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

—- Dolly Parton

Stereotype threats need to be researched again to keep us current.

I then discuss stereotype threats, still real, yet not as powerful as they were in the past.

As an illustration, I discussed girls and math. Research showed that boys’ math scores were higher than girls.

Now, here is an intriguing thought.

Females tended to do better on math tests when they took them without males in the room. Female scores increased by twelve percent when no males were in the room. This is called a “stereotype threat.” More about that in the book.

I think the re-testing should be done now, post-Barbie film.

All things considered, what is great about the film is that by reimagining Barbie as a dynamic and multifaceted character, the film challenges societal expectations and encourages viewers to embrace authenticity over conformity.

Navigating Social Pressures: Barbie as a Symbol of Empowerment

In the Barbie film, the titular character confronts various societal pressures and expectations that individuals, particularly women, face daily. Through Barbie’s journey, the film sheds light on the struggles of balancing personal aspirations with societal norms.

For this reason, it is a powerful narrative on how to “be free to be you and me.” It discusses empowerment, inspiring audiences to challenge preconceived notions and chart their course in a world that often dictates conformity.

Body Image and Self-Esteem: A Relevant Discourse

One of the central themes in the Barbie film is the exploration of body image and its impact on self-esteem. The movie takes a nuanced approach to depict the protagonist’s journey toward self-acceptance, encouraging viewers to rethink conventional beauty standards.

For example, the film contributes to the ongoing conversation about embracing diverse body types and promoting a healthier self-image in a society grappling with body image issues.

Another chapter in GUTSY, titled “When action heroes marry princess dolls, we learn to hate our bodies,” has a great quote,

“The tough thing is giving up being perfect and being yourself.”

—- Anna Quindien

Body image can keep us healthy or make us sick if we buy into old stereotypes.

As I wrote this blog, I couldn’t help wondering how the Swifties are handling their body images as they look at Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, two physically beautiful individuals.

At the same time, I have often asked, “Are we meant to be picture-perfect? To airbrush or not to airbrush, you decide.”

In short, the new Barbie film emerges as a progressive and thought-provoking addition to the cinematic landscape. By challenging stereotypes, addressing societal pressures, and exploring themes of empowerment and self-acceptance, the movie invites audiences to rethink their perspectives on modern ideals.

In conclusion, the film encourages us to celebrate individuality, embrace diversity, and question societal norms that may limit personal growth and expression in our rapidly evolving world. As the new Barbie takes center stage, it becomes a symbol of change, inviting us to participate in shaping a more inclusive and accepting world.

Hats off to those who brought the new, enlightened Barbie to life.

To your success,

Sylvia Lafair

P.S. Get a free chapter of the second edition of GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change and see how I included Barbie before the movie became a cultural icon. You can take the quiz here to see how GUTSY you are. Then get the Women Leaders 4 module online workshop at a discount. It is based on our highly successful weekend retreats. More questions? Send an email to sylvia@ceoptions.com and grab your gift and discount. You’ll be glad you did.

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Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options