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Greta Gerwig responds to ‘woke’ ‘Barbie’ accusations

C’mon Barbie haters — let’s go party.

“Barbie” director and co-writer Greta Gerwig isn’t letting negative responses to the blockbuster film get to her — and she wants critics to just relax and have a good time, she revealed in a new interview with the New York Times.

“Certainly, there’s a lot of passion. My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men,” said Gerwig.

“I hope that in all of that passion, if they see it or engage with it, it can give them some of the relief that it gave other people,” the director said.

Gerwig was responding specifically to the interviewer’s question as to whether or not the “Lady Bird” director anticipated “the degree to which rightwing pundits are bashing the movie as being ‘woke’ and burning their Barbies.”

In response to conservative backlash, “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig hopes the movie invites everyone to let go “of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men.”
AFP via Getty Images

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro flamed the feminist themes in “Barbie” by lighting Barbie dolls and a pink toy car on fire at the start of a 43-minute YouTube review.

Within the viral video, Shapiro said the message of the movie is “either you’re a third wave feminist who hates men, truly hates men or you’re brainwashed.”

Shapiro claimed on Monday’s episode of The Ben Shapiro Show he had received death threats for his hot take a few days earlier. He also pointed to tweets that asked if “something” can be done for his actions.

“I take, like, a match and I light the Barbie stuff on fire — and this is apparently terrible,” Shapiro said.

“The reaction to me burning a Barbie car with, like, a Barbie and Ken in it, is like the reaction of the Islamic world when someone burns a Quran in Sweden. It’s totally crazy … I don’t even. Like wow, guys. Wow.”

Ben Shapiro DESTROYS The Barbie Movie For 43 Minutes
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro destroyed “Barbie” by setting a few dols on fire and giving a lengthy review on YouTube.
Ben Shapiro/YouTube

The commentator previously attacked the film on Twitter for alleged overuse of the word “patriarchy.”

“All you need to know about #BarbieTheMovie is that it unironically uses the word ‘patriarchy’ more than 10 times.”

Elon Musk also took to the rebranded social media platform to take a shot at the movie’s anti-patriarchy message.

“It you take a shot every time Barbie says the word ‘patriarchy’, you will pass out before the movie ends,” he tweeted.

Elon Musk on Twitter (X).
Both Elon Musk and Shapiro called out the amount of times “patriarchy” was said in “Barbie.”

Prior to the movie’s release, Texas Senator Ted Cruz accused the Barbie movie for including Chinese Communist Party propaganda. Issue was found in the pro-China inclusion of a map depicting islands in the South China Sea that are territorially disputed.

Ginger Luckey Gaetz, wife of Republican congressman Matt Gaetz, saved potential viewers from watching “Barbie” following her attending a very pink premiere event.

Gaetz criticized the movie for neglecting to “address any notion of faith or family” and trying to “normalize the idea that men and women can’t collaborate positively.”

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Texas Senator Ted Cruz accused the Barbie movie for including Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

Margot Robbie as Barbie in "Barbie."
“Barbie” was banned in Vietnam for the territorially disputed map.
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

And prominent conservatives aren’t the only ones who’ve been pulling Barbie’s hair.

One clever Twitter user went viral creating memes out of angry, one-star reviews of the film, supposedly left by male viewers, who called the movie “alienating, perverse and dangerous,” as well as “a pink acid trip that feels like being slapped by lots of confusingly attractive people.”

Amy Schumer, who has since expressed her praise for how the feminist movie turned out, was set to play Barbie during early development in 2016. Schumer told Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live” there were “creative differences” — not “scheduling conflicts” — that pulled her away from the role.

In a March 2022 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the comedian and actress revealed that the project wasn’t feminist enough for her.

“They definitely didn’t want to do it the way I wanted to do it, the only way I was interested in doing it,” she explained to the outlet at the time.

Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Ariana Greenblatt, Issa Rae, Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig, Simu Liu and Hari Nef at the premiere of "Barbie" held at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on July 9, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
The traditional Barbie dolls have been called out for pushing a negative body image onto young girls.
WWD via Getty Images

Gerwig told the Gray Lady that the film came under its share of friendly fire during production. Mattel executives didn’t dramatically interfere with the inclusion of a character calling “Barbie dolls sexist and fascist,” she said, but they also weren’t ecstatic, either.

“It wasn’t like I ever got the full seal of approval from [Mattel], like, ‘We love it!’ I got a tentative, ‘Well, OK. I see that you are going to do this, so go ahead and we’ll see how it goes,’ Gerwig revealed.

“But that’s all you need, and I had faith once it was in there and they saw it that they would embrace it, not fight it. Maybe at the end of the day, my will to have it in was stronger than any other will to take it out.”

According to experts, Barbie’s ultra feminine and original disproportionate look can negatively impact a body image for young girls.

In a 2016 study from the journal Body Image, researchers found that girls ages 6 to 8 who played with traditional Barbie dolls had an increase in dissatisfaction with their own bodies, while the girls who played with curvier dolls had more body positivity.

And scholars of feminism at the University of Calgary recently weighed in on whether Barbie’s impact “has been positive or negative.” Dr. Shelly Russell-Mayhew advocated for the latter, even with Mattel including an array of body types and ethnic backgrounds.

“For this image to be the standard of beauty is problematic, because it sets an impossible and unhealthy ideal,” she said.

“No matter how much Mattel tries to introduce this inclusivity into the Barbie line, when people hear the word Barbie it’s still the original that comes to mind, the tall, impossibly thin blonde.”

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