Sunday, 23 July 2023

why i think the barbie movie is a masterpiece

There is only one thing on my TikTok fyp now - and that's the Barbie movie. Everyone who has watched it is saying the same thing. We walked into the cinema dressed in pink, expecting a light-hearted watch, a journey back to our childhood days and to be blessed by Margot Robbie's beauty (and yes, we were indeed); but we all ended up leaving with a heavy heart, pondering about our life choices, the role of women in society, and for some, our relationship with our mothers.

Feminism is definitely a core theme of the Barbie movie. And I absolutely loved how they brought across the message in such an entertaining, intelligent and witty way.

But for me, the message that struck the deepest chord was the importance of learning to become your own person.

Barbie Land is a reflection of the world that we live in. Every single person in Barbie Land lives for a purpose that was assigned to them, and it is not something that they gradually discover for themselves. Ken does not exist apart from Barbie. And even Barbie herself exists for her owner in "the real world". She must be the stereotypical Barbie that Mattel designed her to be or she would be considered as having a defect and be out of production in no time. I found this very relatable.

I wrote this in my Apple Notes two years ago,

"Strip me of my intellect.
Strip me of my passion.

So I can be a flawless doll that never stops smiling at you,
and bringing you comfort."

I think I must have hated myself then.

For speaking too much, for speaking too little.
For being too playful, for being too dull.
For being too honest, for being too deceitful.
For being too emotional, for being too apathetic.
For caring too much, for caring too little. 

For. being. never. enough.

I wanted to be loved, so badly, that I cut out every piece of me that I thought wasn't loved. What was I left with? Nothing. I must have felt suffocated to the point that I wanted to be nothing more than a doll. I didn't want to have any emotion or human agency because anything that I said, did, or chose, would have been wrong anyway. And I think that was probably when I started using dissociation as one of my primary coping mechanisms.

One of the things that I want to achieve in this year abroad is to find myself. To find out what it means to be me, apart from my history, my career, the people around me, and all the expectations that I have hitherto placed on myself. 

It has been two months and I have definitely not arrived at where I want to be but what I have realised is that for my entire life, I have always boxed myself within the realm of possibilities defined by my circumstances. I made decisions after decisions that went against my truest desires because I believed that it was either duty, love, or just the way things were meant to be. And by doing so, I gave so much of myself away.

In the past, sacrificing your dreams and ambitions for "the greater good", be it a divine purpose, your country, family or a significant other, would have been seen as an act of courage. But what has this led to? Countless stories of resentment, anxiety, regret, and depression that the generations above us are not allowed to talk about. The narrative is changing. Of course, religion, patriotism, family and love are wonderful things if you truly believe in them. But in today's world, you must first find yourself before you can show up as the best version of yourself and make a truly meaningful contribution to the people around you.

Afternote: But sometimes, all you want to do is to embrace your inner child and be loved by someone else because you simply can't find the love for yourself. I still have a long way to go.

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