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Sizzle This: Barbie the Feminist Movie Now Has Merch, Coming Full Circle

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Jul 1, 2023

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Image credit: Barbie (2023)

In ‘Sizzle This,’ The Swaddle team adds to the noise around the pop culture moment of the week. 


Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated film ‘Barbie’ is promising to be a feminist reclamation for the ages. But is it? You can buy into this fantasy with the help of Mattel, Barbie’s manufacturer, announcing merchandise for Barbie the movie on its website. Is this merch that became a movie, or a movie that became merch? Where is the line? Many are excited, some are cynical, but everyone has takes. Here are ours.

SM: I’ll buy whatever Greta is selling. But on a serious note, with Marvel, Disney and DC, films have become very brand oriented – it’s upto the viewer to be discerning and see how subversive the messaging of the film is within that? Would I be saying this if it weren’t Greta? No. 

RN: It’s the most evil genius rebrand a corporation has ever done. Side-eyeing Greta for being a collaborator.

AB: Listen, if buying merchandise is the cost of watching a Greta Gerwig-Margot Robbie Barbie movie, then I will gladly open up my childhood Dreamhouse and play with Barbies again. It’s camp, it’s unapologetic, it’s probably going to make me cry, and it’s the Barbie movie we deserve. 

HK: The Barbie PR team is doing such a wonderful job, and I – as a viewer, am eating it all up. The Malibu House, the interview with Architectural Digest, the fashion line – all beautiful examples of the film industry in all its glory! The sole reason I am not averse to the extravagant flair of the film and its roots in late stage capitalism is because I truly believe that this reclamation is long overdue, and Greta Gerwig is refashioning what it means to love Barbie, while staying true to its roots. Give me camp, give me pink, give me hyperfemininity — give me the portrayal of girlhood that I’ve been waiting for. 

DR: In this age of capitalism, everything — from education to social justice — is about churning profits for the already rich. Therefore, I’m not surprised. But, personally, I’m not too worried either: not being rich, I have no money to spend on either Barbie merchandise or Barbie tourism; I’ll have to check how comfortably I can afford the movie tickets even. And if I desperately want Barbie merchandise, I can always go back and play with the Barbie dolls I was gifted when I was a kid. They come with an added perk, too: a nostalgic walk down the lane of happy childhood memories. So… tourism, too! 

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Written By The Swaddle Team

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