Brain Boot Camp
Little Scholars invites you to dive into the fascinating world of one of the most iconic figures in the world of toys - Barbie! Through the eyes of our insightful 8th Grade students, prepare to be amazed as these young minds share their perspectives, opinions and thoughts on the impact and relevance of Barbie in today's society.
Let's go Barbie!

Barbie is a doll that was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler. She was one of the first dolls that resembled female empowerment. When Barbie was first created, gender inequality was still a major issue in the world and only men held power. However, Barbie was known to do it all - president, doctor, pilot, lawyer, and so much more. She created a contrast to stereotyping and gender inequality, and was portrayed to be the one that was always in power - women were in power instead of men.

At first, Barbie was a role model for little girls with her flawless looks - blonde hair, blue eyes and what seemed like the “perfect body”. She was like a model of what the perfect girl would look like. This however, became a problem as Barbie was too perfect, which created stereotypical and unrealistic beauty standards. This is why Barbie was modified in many ways, with curves, different skin tones and different coloured hair.

There was also another issue, Barbie was a housewife at first since women didn’t have careers yet, which made little girls believe that was what would become their lives. She was modified again, to have different jobs or character traits along with brightly coloured outfits such as rockstar barbie, doctor barbie, pilot barbie and president barbie. She showed young girls how anything was possible and that they could achieve whatever they wanted. She sent a very important message: gender does not matter.

In the movie, Barbie was presented to be everything, and Ken was nothing. It creates a variation to the real world as men still hold most power. This puts men in perspective to show what it is like to be inequalitised as women since Barbieland is like an antipode of the real world - women were everything - special and powerful, men were just there in the background - nothing noticeable, nothing special.

When Ken arrives in the real world, he immediately learns about patriarchy - a social system led by men. He is intrigued by that and thinks that all men hold power the same way as all women hold power in Barbieland. He thinks that as long as he is a man, he can do anything. I think that this shows that an unbalanced amount of both men or women in power is not good. Barbie (women) held all the power in Barbieland and mostly men are still in power in the real world, both of these sides are unequal, and it shows that both men and women should have the same amount of power in the world.

Although Barbie is portrayed to have all the power, I don’t think it was intended for others to think that all and only women should have power in the world. It just shows that women can be as good as men at anything and should not be held back just because of gender. Barbie had a huge impact on the world to show that women have the same, great potential as men, and as long as you work hard, you can do anything you want. Gender equality is the key.

By Laura Yong

Meet Barbie. A doll that is known by little girls all over the world. In the movie “Barbie”, Barbie lives in a land called “Barbieland”, where women rule instead of men. Compared to the real word, where men are kind of above women. (Not being sexist)

When “Ken” goes to the real world (aka Earth), he discovers how different it is on Earth. With a new way of thinking, he starts to believe that men are better than women. For example, in one scene of “Barbie”, Ken wants to perform a surgery, but the doctor (who is a woman by the way), doesn’t let him. He replies, confused, that he’s a man, so he should be able to do whatever he wants. The doctor tells him if he’s not a doctor, he can’t do a surgery. He seems astonished when the doctor tells him she is a doctor.

Looking at this with Barbie’s point of view, she thinks that women can do anything. Which is true. Well at least in the 20th century. In “Barbieland” Barbies are everything, Kens are just Ken, Barbies can do anything, for example: Doctor, President, flight attendant, Vet, Biologist, Physicist, Singer…… you get the idea. So, when Barbie explores the real world, she expects every woman to be the leader of something, because she made women empowerment happen. (Not.) When she found out that all the members of Mattel’s board are men, like Ken, she is shocked.

The morale or statement of the movie is that men and women are equal. Even though gender inequality is a problem that had been resolved a long time ago, occasionally it still occurs in our own daily life. According to UNICEF, gender equality means that men and women are treated the same way, and they enjoy the same rights, resources etc. Some countries such as Afghanistan, are facing problems such as gender inequality. As a result, women don’t get education there.

How this is similar to Barbie is that they both face gender inequality later in the movie. After Ken brainwashes the Barbies, women empowerment no longer exists. Men are taking leadership in everything, and women are just useless. But that shouldn’t be true. Women are just the same as men. After all , we’re all human, what’s the difference between all of us?

By Gracelyn Yip

Barbie, the doll has been around for many years and has somewhat changed my perspective on Barbie. Barbie was first made in 1959 with the backstory of how Ruth Handler’s daughter walked down a street in Switzerland when she stumbled upon a curvy plastic doll in a store window, different from the one’s back in America. Seeing her daughter’s new found interest in these more mature dolls, Ruth immediately got to work, making what is now known as the infamous Barbie.

As a little kid, I knew what Barbie was but I had little to no interest in it, preferring to stick with my stuffed toys as I thought they were cuter and fluffier. For a long time, Barbie had never come across my mind until the barbie movie came out. I was head over heels over the movie and was so excited to see it but I was let down and disappointed. I didn’t find the movie interesting at all and it had a very common theme in it, gender inequality and feminism. These two common themes are a challenge in our society and something we ought to fix and improve.

In the movie, Barbie land is a place run by only women, with men as a “nobody”, completely opposite from reality except, I wouldn’t say that women are irrelevant because over the past decades we have fought to change the perspective of people in the society, trying to make them believe that men and women both have equal rights and nobody is superior than the other. When Ken and Barbie enter the real world, Ken finds that in the real world, men have more power than women. Therefore, Ken thought he could get anything and do anything he wants just because he’s a man, then he brought his thoughts and opinions back to Barbie land and creating his infamous “Ken’s Mojo Dojo Kasa House.”Historically, a lot of jobs were dominated by men, but the Barbie movie showed us that women can also have the same opportunities that men have. Although I didn’t find the movie that interesting, there was this one quote that I stand by and absolutely agree on and it is said by Gloria, the mother of the bratty little girl. Here’s what she said, “You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood. But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.” Although this is just a little part of her whole monologue, I think if you have time, you should watch or rewatch it again because I think it literally sums up the theme behind the movie. It shows what women have to go through everyday and the movie specifically highlights the point.

All in all, the whole concept of the Barbie movie was to show and empower girls my age to do anything a guy can do. In many ways, Barbie has changed the lives and perspectives of many young girls and more to come. Except I think they should be more environmentally friendly because , you know, we gotta save the planet and especially polar bears.

By Zoe Chan

The Barbie doll was created on March 9, 1959 by the first president of Mattel Ruth Handler. She based all of her signature dolls on both of her children Barbara Millicent Roberts and Kenneth Handler. After a trip to Switzerland, Barbara was obsessed with a curvy female doll. This inspired Ruth to bring it back to America.

Before Barbie was actually invented, most dolls at the time were babies but this all changed in an instant. Barbie's original design was one in a striped swimsuit though getting a second style in 1965 as the first person to go to the moon. Then came 250 other careers. Barbie has revolutionised how women felt about what world they wanted to live in and not just one filled with male rulers. It opened up their imagination to chasing their dreams. The company which created Barbie - Mattel - has created numerous dolls along with Barbie and Ken, such as Midge, Skipper and the special one off male doll, Allan, just to name a few.

As a boy, I have never particularly played with any Barbies dolls because they have been mainly a girl focused product until quite a few months ago when the infamous Barbie movie came out.

I've been very resilient to watching the movie alongside many other boys but am always somewhat curious as to why there is so much hype surrounding the movie. In the end, I watched it and realised there was a way deeper meaning to it than I could have possibly imagined.

In the movie, Barbie Land has been portrayed to be ruled by women and not men which is completely different to the one we live in. So when Barbie gets into trouble, she seeks help from Weird Barbie and goes into the real world to solve her problems. While Ken follows her, Barbie assigns Ken to walk around the city and he notices a lot of things. He sees how strong patriarchy is in the real world and wants to spread it back to Barbie land.

With Barbie being left behind, Ken ventures back to Barbie Land and brainwashes every Barbie and Ken there.

Barbie and a mother and daughter go back to Barbie Land and stop the disaster before long.

Even though there has been a lot of drama and memes created from the Barbie franchise, I would say it is really iconic and it has inspired the world with lots of aspects. I personally think that they should extend their branch towards boys as it would definitely get an even bigger fan base than it already has.

By Miles Wong

We all know Barbie and Ken. Barbie was launched on March 9th, 1959. Barbie was originally created by Ruth Handler. Barbie's full name is actually Barbara Millicent Roberts named after Ruth's daughter Barbara. Ken was released in 1961 and is also named after another one of Ruth's children, Ken.

During the 1960's Mattel, the company who founded Barbie, would release new characters, like Barbie's lifelong friend Midge and her little sister Skipper, and they even introduced the first african american doll whose name was "Colored Francie". Starting from around 1965 Barbie would release new costumes and accessories every few years to keep people interested. In the 90's, Mattel did have a few slip ups. One being the talking Barbie doll that portrayed gender stereotypes by saying things like "Math is hard" and "I love shopping".

After finally watching the Barbie movie, I realized that gender stereotypes and gender equality was a bigger problem than I thought. In the movie, at 17 minutes and 11 seconds, we see a scene that shows Ken's cheerleading while Barbie's would play volleyball. I think this shows how in Barbie Land women are more in charge, contrary to the real world where normally women would cheerlead, while men or women play sports (maybe sometimes women cheerlead women playing sports ididkidkdkdkdodkidkdikdidkidk).

In the movie there were a lot of serious issues that were brought up behind the fun script. There were lots of examples of gender roles and people's identity behind their given gender.

Later in the movie at around 30 minutes 45 seconds, Ken starts to see men who are at the gym, riding horses, and in trucks. He starts to think that the world is a patriarchy and that men sort of rule and are above women in the real world. After a while he goes back to Barbie Land and tells everyone what he's discovered about the real world and brainwashes everyone at Barbie Land into thinking that this way of living is better for everyone.

Everyone at Barbie Land is now either a stereotypical man or stereotypical woman. The brainwashed men act like they're in charge and in control. They drink a lot of beer and try to act really tough. The stereotypical women are sort of submissive and just do what the men want.

All the Ken and Barbie's are okay with this new system until that one lady with her kid, and Barbie unbrainwash all the Barbie's with the help of Weird Barbie and all of those canceled Barbies. They unbrainwash the brainwashed Barbies by getting that lady who has a kid to talk about what it's like to be a mom and a woman. They made a plan to distract all the men by appealing to what a stereotypical man would want, then pulling their Barbie aside and unbrainwashing them.

I think this movie called out a lot of problems that we have in the real world today. With gender stereotypes and different people's identities it clarified a lot of problems that were hard to understand and fix.

By Ian Tong

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