“We Girls Can Do Anything,” Like Passing Chinese Propaganda, But Not Make Choices for Ourselves

Sarah Dajani ’26

Opinion Editor

Cinestudio is showing “Barbie” on Friday, Sept. 22. This is a stronger stance than you might think.

From being banned in a number of countries for demoting the ‘job of women,’ i.e., founding a family and having children, to being accused of manipulating “the American public into consuming Chinese propaganda” via taking a “clear” stance on international conflicts. Why is “Barbie” scaring lawmakers and nation leaders?

The supposed propaganda claims that “Barbie” depicted a map that reinforces China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. The map in question depicts England as bordering Asia. With a crown on top. So what is people’s real problem with “Barbie”?

Directed by a woman, “Barbie” explores the complexity of thought a woman goes through on an almost day to day basis. For example, the movement from looking down at the pregnant Barbie in the beginning of the movie to acknowledging the miraculous power – that is punished in our society -which enables women to maintain the existence of human life, is a symbolism for a ‘choice’ between having a career and founding a family many women are led to think through every day of their life. Full of imperfections, “Barbie” brilliantly highlights the beauty standards that are placed on women that even Margot Robbie (stereotypical Barbie) struggles to meet. Although, because it is a woman’s mind, the narrator (actress Judi Dench) notes that Margot Robbie is not a perfect casting choice for this scene!

Barbie has more than 250 careers under her belt. One explanation of the Kens’ parochialism could be that Kens are not ready to live on their own. We often talk about seeking independence as a woman’s interest, but “Barbie” highlights that “only the Kens of the world need their consciousness raised.” Once released from radical patriarchy, women have proven excellent adaptability to their work outside and inside of their homes, while Kens still struggle to make it on their own… I can assure you this is still true, judging from college men’s bathrooms.

Coincidentally, the war on “Barbie” comes alongside the overturn of Roe v. Wade and a decline in the world’s population which economists predict will cause a severe shortage in labor supply. This theory is by no means unfounded or even recent. For years, the researcher Silvia Federici has been arguing that “for as long as reproductive work is devalued, as long it is considered a private matter and a women’s responsibility, women will always confront capital and the state with less power than men.” Yet, we see the incompatible contradiction between the full responsibility that a woman has to take in terms of leaves from work and child related expenses and the increasing nation-scale restrictions that the state has been placing on women’s rights. So although reproduction is essential to the survival of the globe, reproductive rights are selectively treated as private or public matters to serve the economy’s best probabilities.

flaws? Definitely. Is this the reason behind the war on “Barbie”? Seems like it is not. Please come wearing pink to the screening. The picture below of Maria Galochkina ’26 is the appropriate attitude to show up with!

Photo courtesy of Sarah Dajani ’26

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