Margot Robbie's Barbie dancing, holding up her hands and clapping while winking, in the midst of a Barbie dance party in Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie.

‘Barbie’s Ending Is All for the Complicated Woman

Throughout all of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie, you’re jumping between crying over how wonderful it is to be a woman and giggling for the Barbie looks and toys many of us had growing up. It’s why America Ferrera’s Gloria is so relatable to those of us sitting in the theater who had that experience, saving up for special Barbie toys and loving this doll with a complicated history.

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What is really beautiful about the movie overall is that it has a message about womanhood and existing in this male-dominated world that is truly beautiful. Barbie (Margot Robbie) sees what the patriarchy has done to the world she had initially believed that Barbie fixed. In her mind, all the young girls who played with Barbie went on to be important business women, leading the world. She didn’t know the patriarchy existed.

Throughout the movie, we see her struggle with the problems that women in the real world have to handle daily, and it takes Gloria sharing those problems with the other Barbies to break them out of the hold that the patriarchy has on them (thanks to Ken). What we learn in the end is that being a Barbie and living your life in plastic isn’t necessarily the best way to go about it.

At the end of the film, the ghost of Ruth Handler (Rhea Perlman) comes to Barbie to give her the choice: go back to Barbieland or become a human and feel the pain and love that comes with it. In the end, Barbie chooses to become a human herself, because being a Barbie just isn’t who she is anymore, and we see what it means to be human to Barbie—or, well, what it is to be a woman.

Being a woman is hard but it is still beautiful

When Barbie gets to become a human, she goes to live with Gloria, her daughter Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt), and Gloria’s husband. They’re all in the car together, and for a moment, it looks like Barbie is going to work at Mattel. The reality is that she’s going to the gynecologist. It is a sweet last note to the film, showing that Barbara “Barbie” Handler now has to take care of herself as we do in the real world. But it also fits perfectly with Ruth Handler’s message to Barbie back in Barbieland.

Stereotypical Barbie (as Robbie played) is always perfect. That’s not the case with women in the real world. We’re complicated, messy, and not always on the top of our game, and that’s okay. That’s what the ending of Barbie tells us. We can have moments of disarray and upset because we’re human, just like Barbie is now.

So, the ending of Barbie really is just Barbie becoming human and quickly realizing that it means she has to take care of herself as one. Handler told Barbie all about the pain that comes with being a human, particularly as a woman, and still Barbie wanted that life and it is beautiful. And I guess we also know now that Barbie has a vagina?

(featured image: Warner Bros. Pictures)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.