Barbie is Actually A Feminist Entrepreneurial PowerHouse

The Barbie Movie Is Deep, Complicated and Inspiring

Welcome to where we share practical entrepreneurship advice. AND ALSO THE BARBIE MOVIE JUST CAME OUT SO YOU KNOW I WAS THERE.

It’s July 21st 2023. And for anyone that’s ever heard of Barbie – it can mean only one thing! The Barbie Movie has just premiered in The UK.

I needed to see this movie from the moment i saw this shot of her doll feet!

From the moment I saw the trailer, of her dainty feet, slipping out of high heels, and standing effortlessly on her tiptoes, I knew I needed to see this movie.

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My first memory of Barbie, is actually, strangely not of Barbie, it’s of Sindy, Barbie’s English Underdog Cousin.

I remember being five years old and in the run-up to my birthday, I excitedly told my Uncle that I wanted a Sindy. From a totally superficial perspective, Sindy is, in all honestly not as pretty as Barbie, but from my perspective as a five-year-old, Sindy had charisma. Everyone was always going on about Barbie – I’ve always liked underdogs, ANYWAY!

From the moment I unwrapped the paper, and Sindy’s knowing, wry face was looking up at me, I’m not ashamed to say, it was love. 

I imagined myself doing independent things like pressing a lift button on my own, catching a bus on my own, the kind of things a five-year-old imagines, going off to college (whatever that was exactly) 

There’s something very special about loving something as a child. Those first memories of really loving a toy, and floating up into your imagination, being whoever you would like to be, and expressing it through the adventures of your doll.

Even now, I’m 37 years old, it still makes me feel some kind of special way.

So let’s get back to The Barbie Movie.  Can I just say, Feminist Masterpeice?!

*Spoiler Alert*

In the movie, Barbie discovers that she’s experiencing darker emotions, she’s thinking of things like (whispers) death… She realises that things aren’t perfect.

On the advice of all of her beautiful Barbie peers, she heads off to see ‘Weird Barbie’ (Ever drew on your Barbie’s face and cut off her hair?! Yes – every little girl did that btw – ever incidentally my Sindy turned into Weird Barbie).

There is a rip in the space / time continuum of Barbie World and The Real World.

Dreams do come true. The Fantasy is Real.

Weird Barbie explains that whichever little girl out there who owned Barbie, is now having these dark thoughts – and Barbie needs to go and rescue her!

What follows is a classic ‘Odyssey’ like adventure across the seas, snow and space, to The Real World. 

Barbie discovers that this is a complicated place, where women can feel self-conscious under the male gaze. 

In the meantime, Ken has snuck into the real world and actually grows inspired at The Patriarchy. Annoyingly, he brings it back to Barbie’s Dream World and ALMOST RUINS IT.

There are few poinited political statements – you may see some mirroring of the far right in ‘Ken Dom’ – beer swilling, small minded guys. And the movie alludes to it being down to me not being ‘Kenough..’.. 

I don’t want to give away the ending, but the movie really had me thinking,

What Is It About Barbie That Inspired Me as An Entrepreneur?

Barbie is Independent

Barbie dolls have portrayed many professions over the years, including roles as business executives, doctors, engineers, astronauts, and even the President of the United States. These depictions present young girls with a variety of career possibilities, subtly communicating that they can aspire to any profession, including being entrepreneurs.

From those precious moments of playing with my doll, I envisioned an aspirational life for myself, a dream home, pretty clothes, fun stuff and abundance. Positive images for a little girl.

Barbie, with its multitude of roles and iterations over the years, serves as a source of inspiration for female entrepreneurs in several ways:

Oh The Possibilities!

 When Barbie was first introduced, it was revolutionary because it presented a woman doll not just as a caretaker but as an individual with her career ambitions. Over the years, Barbie has been portrayed in a variety of entrepreneurial roles, symbolizing that women can be successful entrepreneurs, thus inspiring girls to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career choice.

The Lady That Created Barbie is a Hollywood Success Story

Barbie was co-created by a female entrepreneur, Ruth Handler. Ruth’s story of identifying a market need, designing a product to meet it, and achieving great success can inspire female entrepreneurs. It’s a testament to the power of an innovative idea, tenacity, and business acumen.

Branding and Evolution

The Barbie brand has stood the test of time, reinventing itself over the decades to remain relevant. The brand’s adaptability in its product line and messaging to meet the evolving societal expectations provides valuable lessons on branding, market responsiveness, and longevity, which are critical to entrepreneurial success.

Overcoming Challenges  

Barbie has not been without controversy, often criticized for promoting unrealistic body image standards and traditional gender roles. However, the brand has shown resilience and adaptability by introducing more diverse representations of women in recent years. This can inspire female entrepreneurs to face challenges head-on, learn from criticisms, and adapt their business strategies accordingly.

Social Impact

 Mattel’s Barbie has also partnered with organizations and run campaigns to support causes like education for girls and inspiring them to break glass ceilings. This emphasis on social impact serves as a reminder for female entrepreneurs that businesses can and should also aim to make a positive impact on society.

In these ways, Barbie’s journey from a single doll to a globally recognized brand presents a wealth of inspiration for female entrepreneurs.

I can’t help loving Barbie, and I’ll always love her.

You really can be anything you want to be, and we need to hold on to the vision of ourselves we had as little girls, playing with our dolls, and not ‘The Real World’ come in and sabotage it!

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Appreciate ya!xxx

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