In the wake of the mega-blockbuster hit, BarbieLand is becoming a real-life destination. But we don’t have to buy what Barbie is selling.
Basically, it takes more than a tiny waist and long legs to achieve the Barbie ideal—you also need a lot of stuff, have a lot of money, and an open door (and wallet) to travel anywhere in the world. In all fairness, the film’s tween heroine served up a critique along these lines, accusing Barbie of promoting “shallow consumerism.” But the film was bankrolled by Mattel, the company that makes Barbie dolls (and many other toys), as part of a business strategy to license out intellectual property to create media that will boost sales.
There is a lot to love about the Barbie movie, but sometimes the message gets lost that the most genuinely alluring parts of the world it depicts are things that can’t be bought with a single swipe of a credit card and jetting off to a new place. Women in BarbieLand occupy important societal positions, are financially independent, and support one another’s achievements.
And, look, we’re not going to tell you not to buy those neon rollerblades or go on that Barbie-themed vacation if it’ll truly bring you joy. But at the same time, seeing bright pink Airbnbs for rent is a good reminder to try and keep your eye on the real prizes of life.