5 Discussion Topics After Watching the Barbie Movie


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Laura Paisley Beck

Freelance Content Creator

Are you successfully avoiding all news and social media conversation around the Barbie movie? It’s making some pretty political waves, which is why, as a copy and content writer who loves anything thought-provoking, I think the movie is worth watching again to tune into more Barbie Land vs. Human World compare-and-contrast conversation.

Spoiler alert: this piece shares details about the movie.

Question The “Gay” Agenda

Some of your neighbors condemn the Barbie movie for pushing a “gay agenda.” I personally glowed with pride when I saw trans women Barbie’s along with the body positive and BIPOC representation in the dolls. And, yes, there were many adorable LGBTQ+ characters, moments, and innuendos throughout the movie just as there is in life. But, in my humble opinion, to say the movie is pushing a “gay agenda” is pushing a paranoid homophobic fear onto an inclusive democratic movie

When you watch Barbie again consider asking these questions: 

  • Instead of questioning how gay this is, or if any of the characters are gay, don’t you think we should question how and why we react to LGBTQ+ actors and culture?
  • How does our response to the LGBTQ+ actors, characters, and cultural messages impact how we show up at work? In our community?
  • What are we going to do to provide more safe space for the LGBTQ+ people in our lives (because whether you want to believe it or not, you have LGBTQ+ people in your life)?

Question Our Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

We learn early on in the movie that women rule Barbie Land, and they have a black woman president. There is decent BIPOC representation amongst all the dolls, and one Barbie in a wheelchair. What I heard in the Barbie movie was a call for equity as well. 

Discussion questions: 

  • Did the Barbies and Kens represent your human world circle of friends? Your workplace? How inclusive and diverse are your own connections?
  • How important is it to see dolls and characters in all media show a diverse representation of genders, races, body types, and abilities?
  • What do you think Barbie Land gets right that we need to work on in our reality? How are we choosing to show up here and why?

Question Our Idea of Gender Roles

There is a scene where Barbie and Ken first show up in the human world and she seeks women empowerment from construction workers. In Barbie Land, Barbies hold every position in Congress and Barbies hold the most prestigious professions. 

Discussion questions:

  • How did it feel to see an all female Congress and woman President? Does this seem possible in the human world? Why or why not?
  • The movie starts with the history of dolls encouraging girls to play mommy. Midge, the pregnant Barbie, was discontinued and is dismissed often in the movie. How does this represent today’s idea of motherhood? Or your views on maternity/paternity leave
  • How did it feel to see the Kens in such frivolous roles, like “Beach”? Or to hear Barbie not only assume that construction workers were a great example of women empowerment, but also had to explain to the humans laying on sexual harassment that she and Ken had no genitals? How is that different when the genders are reversed?

Question Pay and Power Gaps

In the Barbie movie, Mattel is run by a large board of men wearing hints of Barbie pink with their dark gray suits. This might be slightly more stark than our current day reality, but not by much. Men account for 72% of executive level positions in today’s workforce, and women still earn only 82% what men earn in similar positions. Whereas in Barbie Land, only Barbies held the top professional jobs and money wasn’t currency.

Discussion questions:

  • Did you feel the Barbie movie pushed a feminist agenda?
  • Why would it be uncomfortable for all women to be in power or hold the top level positions in the workforce when men do and have for centuries?
  • If you could create your own [your name]-land, who would be in power and why?

Question Love

Relationships of all levels are challenged in the Barbie movie. Barbie’s relationship to your friends, Ken, the community, the humans, Mattel, and herself. She questions her love for her own life and how that is tied to the humans who play with her. She questions her love for Ken and his love for her. She questions her love for her own Barbiekind and matriarchal order. She questions whether she loves herself enough to feel the pains and discomfort of being human.

Discussion questions:

  • The Barbie movie got a lot of people questioning their own relationships. How are you questioning how you show up in your relationships? Romantic and otherwise?
  • What does love mean to you? How important is true love? Is there such a thing? How many different kinds and levels of love are there?
  • Do you feel you approach life from a place of love or fear? How does that impact those around you?

Remember, try to have an open, safe, honest conversation without judgment, toxic projection, or shame. If you start to feel a heated reaction come on, practice a little pause, count to three in your head, before adding any oil to a fire. We can ask questions to someone else’s reactions like, “That’s an interesting take. Can you unpack that a little more for me?” or “I hear you. Where do you think that stems from? Do you have experiences of that in your past?” 

There are so many more topics to discuss that the Barbie movie brings up: body image, mother-daughter relationships, the history of dolls, fashion over comfort, gun/weapon control (imagine fighting with beach balls and foam darts), why was Barbie from Willows, Wisconsin and what does that say about the Midwest?

My final questions:

  • Can we be the listener instead of the finger-pointer? 
  • Can we question instead of condemn? 
  • Can we acknowledge that this movie had to be made to make us see our reality from a pink Barbie perspective?

Maybe we can strive to make the world a more accepting loving place for every human, no matter their gender, race, or sexual orientation. Want to make sure your website posts consistent relevant content that attracts more inclusive clients with shared values to your organization? Let’s talk!

About Laura Paisley Beck of Wa’am Writes, LLC

Laura Paisley Beck sharpened her copywriting skills as a serial entrepreneur and corporate trained salesperson for decades. Her sales and business experience + writing skills = copywriting super powers to help uplift businesses and organizations she believes in. She started Wa’am Writes, LLC to finally live out a happy, healthy, comfortable life as a writer. When she is not writing and networking, Laura enjoys long walks with Janis Pup, dancing, cooking, silent sports outdoors, seeking Wow (Woods or Water) and dreaming of digital nomad life in Portugal. Want a colorful, experienced, successful writer for your content? Schedule time with Laura Paisley Beck today!