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Even Barbie Has An Existential Crisis

Margot Robbie plays Barbie in the newly released trailer for the Barbie movie

Growing up, I had a love-hate relationship with my Barbie dolls because I was a short brunette girl with glasses and an eye that went the wrong direction. So a beautiful tall Barbie doll that was beyond “perfect” wasn’t exactly something I coped well with.

A lot of little girls have relationships with the iconic doll. For better or for worse, Barbie is a staple of beauty, success, and power. So seeing her struggling in a new trailer for the Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach film Barbie, I had a very real reaction to her pain. Barbie has it all but what we get to see in this new trailer is Margot Robbie’s Barbie grappling with her own sense of self and mortality in the same way that we as people do.

In another perfect day in Barbieland, the new trailer shows Robbie’s Barbie in a choreographed dance number with the other Barbies and Kens when she suddenly asks if they’ve ever thought about dying. So she has to go to another doll (played by Kate McKinnon) to either go on a quest for answers (which is a Birkenstock) or to go back to her real life. And so Barbie with her now flat feet (THE SCANDAL) is trying to find answers to the life she’s just been blissfully living without question.

As a press release states: “To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you’re a Ken.” All this just has made Barbie more relatable to me.

Sometimes, Barbie struggles too

Barbie in her mirror in Barbie Land in the Greta Gerwig Barbie trailer starring Margot Robbie
(Warner Bros.)

We’ve been sold our entire lives (given that Barbie was released in 1959 and I was born in the 90s) the idea that Barbie has the perfect life. She has best friends, a great job, a boyfriend, and a town of people who know and love her. Her dream house and jeeps were things that we, as children, wanted because it made us closer to her. But seeing Barbie actually struggle with her own sense of self, purpose, and why she’s here in the first place was a twist I was not ready for.

Maybe it stems from my own insecurities and relationship with Barbie as a brand but knowing that this woman I looked up to as a child also struggles with her own sense of self weirdly just felt very important to the little version of me. Kid Rachel would dress her Barbies up, make them fall in love and have the future she wanted, because she didn’t think she’d have it herself because she felt less than. But knowing that Barbie’s life living in her Barbie world is less than perfect is actually pretty amazing.

Barbie has to come to the real world to learn about who she is and why she’s always having such a “perfect” day and I fully trust both Gerwig and Baumbach to bring us into Barbie’s life and struggles. Because at the end of the day, even Barbie has a rough time.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.