Home » Entertainment » Dim-witted Ken goes out into the world and immediately becomes macho. This is why Barbie talks mainly to men – Corriere.it

Dim-witted Ken goes out into the world and immediately becomes macho. This is why Barbie talks mainly to men – Corriere.it

A “douchebro” is defined as a rude man, with arrogant behavior and a contemptuous nature, who proudly displays sexism by liberally distributing what modern psychology calls “toxic masculinity”. And the specter of “douchebro” (the American slang is still lavish with neologisms) immune to any recent attempts to rethink that they were people haunting the 114-minute film. Barbie gameblockbuster dedicated to the famous blonde doll. Hidden star Barbie (Margot Robbie) has an antagonist, dear old Ken (Ryan Gosling). In the movie stupid polyvinyl chloride doll comes to life and takes on human characteristics (especially the wriggling biceps and sculpted abs) but also suffers from its most serious problem: Ken is only an appendage of Barbie. Without him he would not exist at all – his life alone would be meaningless.

– The poster of “Barbie” (2023) the film directed and written by director Greta Gerwig and her husband Noah Baumbach.

A pink utopia

Director Greta Gerwig’s idea is Cartesian simplicity: there’s Barbieland, the world of Barbies and Kens, and there’s the real world. Gerwig imagines a Wizard of Oz in reverse, the doll that ventures out of Barbieland into the real world and which, alas, is accompanied by Ken on his journey to a Los Angeles a little less real than the shocking pink land of Mattel toys. Barbieland is a pink utopia, a world governed by a gynaeceum – the president is a woman, like the magistrates of the supreme court, like the Nobel Prize writer – in which men have a simple decorative role (fit, smile, all a somewhat the same, they live on the beach without doing anything in particular, only extra to the otherwise uninspiring lives of the Barbies).
The second act of the story – Gerwig is very Aristotelian in designing the structure of her film – focuses on Ken’s coup: during the trip to the real world (everything is relative) in Los Angeles he goes to the library to find books on his favorite subject, trucks (he is not an intellectual), and comes away with a stack of volumes dedicated to patriarchy. nonetheless, an essential fact escapes him from this His IQ, like all the other Kens in the movie, is less than the circumference of his biceps. He does not realize that these books harshly criticize patriarchy in the real world. For him, on the other hand, the patriarchy seems like an excellent idea to reverse the balance of power in Barbieland (“Ken has a fantastic day only if Barbie looks at him”, he reflects).

A republic on a human scale

So here is the revolution hacked in the gym doll: when she returns home, Barbie will find her house – no windows or walls in Barbieland – invaded by various types of Kens (the cast of the film is multi-racial as well and the dolls: all the ethnic groups are represented, and there is also the Barbie with vitiligo and the one with alopecia) there are no decorative elements anymore but the masters of the shocking pink world of Barbie, between the cowboy hat and the educational projection. The godfather . An independent republic founded on mansplaining (the tendency of men to explain things to women) and Gosling as president: the symbol is a horse, the aesthetic is decidedly western and replaces the old style of California rescue. Barbieland, even under the neo-patriarchy, fortunately remains a place of ridicule (the satire of the film, if any, is very moderate: it is the first installment in a series of films that will be inspired by the characters owned by Mattel, 2022). turnover of 5.43 billion euros, producer Barbie).

– A ballet in the movie “Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, surrounded by Ken

A difficult part

A question remains: why Gosling at 42, at the peak of his career, accepted a rather complicated role on paper (in the script) that would potentially expose him to public ridicule in the Internet? Apart from the $12.5 million fee of course? In an interview with Fashion The Canadian actor admitted that Ken “did not represent one of those roles that you dream about at night, but it was interesting to try”. So here he is waxed, bleached, photoshopped, with fluorescent rollerblades, proud of his “Kenergy”, Ken’s somewhat useless energy: a strange metamorphosis for the actor that cinephiles met in his twenties as a neo-Nazi (secretly Jewish) in a bond. movie still very little seen, the believer.
When his first photo as Ken surfaced, before the film hit the world box office (a surprise up to a certain point because the marketing budget guaranteed by Warner, 150 million dollars, was well above the production budget), the hashtag – digital version of the old mobilizations of the past – #notmyken and that is ” not my Ken”. He could simultaneously dislike his fans – make a fool as a puppet – and fans of Mattel dolls. He responded in an interview with Gq as follows: “It’s funny, this idea for people who are alarmed by some photos using the hashtag #notmyken. But when did he ever care about Ken before he saw these pictures?â (Gosling has two daughters, aged 8 and 9, with his partner Eva Mendes, and he used them as a small private focus group).

The march is long

There are all the ingredients of a book marketing campaign: with the thought that Barbie came out of complicated decades, given that the world has become more inclusive, more than unrealistic female models – blonde, blue eyes, if she was a real woman she would be 1.75 tall and weigh 50 kg, measurements 91-46-84 – she ended up under charges. È Mattel’s long march towards inclusiveness, of which this popular film is the culmination. There is also, the target of very mild satire, the CEO of Mattel. In the movie is Will Ferrell, a brilliant humorist who can make vitriolic satire but not this time: that’s right, in the movie. Barbie game we see an all-male Mattel board of directors, but even when they chase her in Barbieland they’re not scary villains, a bit like Romeo and the mini-ninjas in the PJ cartoons. And Ferrell says with embarrassment that in the 90s there was a female CEO: he does not say, nonetheless, that he is remembered mainly for the terrible mistake public relations committed when he tried at all costs to market a barbie with the characteristics in Lady. Diana both before and after the death of the princess.

The key question

The question arises inevitably, given the success that certifies the beginning of a long series of films dedicated to him: Is Barbie a feminist movie? “It’s probably a feminist film, but only in the most pervasive way possible,” reflects Stephanie Zacharek su Time who is part of the minority of American critics who did not like the film (along with Anthony Lane del New Yorker , Vulture’s Alison Wilmore, Wall Street Journal’s Kyle Smith). Certainly the representation of various Kens as male-dominated vacuous “douchebros” (and fortunately asexual; like Barbies, they have no genitals) intended to create patriarchy even in the only place where women rule offers strong credentials, but the debate about feminism. in Barbie – a film created with love by the protagonist Margot Robbie and the director Greta Gerwig and her husband Noah Baumbach – remains open. Normal that the American right demolished it: by commentator Ben Shapiro who dedicated a 43-minute video to him with fervor worthy of a better cause New York Post charges of misandry were dropped. Elon Musk also participated and in the middle of the complex and sudden rebranding of Twitter (which is now called X, it used to be the name of movies and porn sites) found time to tweet (Xare?) that «If taken. a shot every time Barbie says the word “patriarchy”, before the end of the film».
There are many quotes in the film, from Kubrick to Proust.But watch the Kens from dance to film with a joy laminated like the bibles – all together but actually alone, unable to communicate with anyone, not even with themselves – more than anything else he came to think that the first step in understanding women should be to listen to them.


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