28 January 2024

Maybe it's Whiteness | on Barbie, the movie, and its creator, a Fraud.


I definitely did NOT want to write about this, but since I'ma writer, I don't necessarily have complete control over what I do and do not write. If writing does not make you feel alive, please do not comment. You haven't the right.

The problem is that Barbie, the movie, is (had been, depending on *when* you are) dominating the internet news cycle, and I could not escape it, even on Threads, the social media app. Naturally, I started to think about it, cause I will admit that the movie was well-made. As a big-budget production, it is a good movie. Whatever about the story, for now. Gerwig is obviously more than capable of putting together an enormous film production. Bravo. The problem(s), for me, arose when the narrative around the Oscars, entertainment's Patriarchal Flagship, began to revolve around Barbie being "wrongfully" labelled as an adapted screenplay and being "snubbed." 

Then Whoopi said the incredible thing, "Everybody doesn't win." [clap. clap. clap.]

And then, I was satisfied that the specific demographic of highly educated Black Women on Threads was just eating it up and tearing it apart. 

But then, I couldn't stop thinking about it. 

And then, I tried to come up with a good metaphor about the situation, and the first one is the obvious one, the cliche :: 

Gerwig, having made a movie about the patriarchy, and then complaining that that same patriarchy does not reward her for her efforts (which is incorrect because the movie has been nominated, but I'll circle back to that one) is embodying the forewarning that one ought not "Bite the hand that feeds it." 

Gerwig took a tiny little stab at a group of people in power, and now she's pissed that she's not being patted on the head by this same group (even though she is)?

And now we've moved onto the next problem ::

It's an adapted screenplay because the character already existed and was created by someone else. 

Nobody would call a story about Frodo Baggins "original." So, like, go fuck yourself.

Next! ::

Gerwig took a tiny little stab at the patriarchy. Like so tiny that most of us women, those who've been traveling down this road a bit longer and with a little more gumption, were wholeheartedly disappointed by the soft-core nature of this not-so-ground-breaking work of women's empowerment, etc.

Instead of dragging Gerwig for simply not being as smart as we all wish she were, we should be glad that she's on her journey, and on this journey, she has decided to make big-budget entertainment for the masses about women. A lot of women do not even believe that the patriarchy is a bad thing for them. And so, after I was thoroughly depressed by Barbie for about three solid weeks, I am beginning to realize, now, that Gerwig has done us a tiny favor.

Yes, we can be disappointed that a prominent white woman still doesn't really get it, but she is getting it.

Overall, she's raised the cultural consciousness around "feminism" and what it means to be a "feminist" to a slightly higher given.

Would we save a lot of time by lifting more educated, more enlightened voices? Of course. Would it be even more valuable to hear diverse perspectives, especially when prominent Black Woman Voices are typically triply educated? Yes, absolutely.

Gerwig is who we've got, at the moment. Sure it'd be great if she were a bit smarter, but we don't need to honor or shame her.

And then the rub finally breaks the skin, and those little specks of blood begin to ooze from my pores ::

Why does she even care about being validated by the patriarchy itself? 

Why even legitimize the patriarchy by attending the Oscars, accepting the nominations she did receive? 



Only a fraud would be so blinded by their own ego to mistake the message of their own movie. 

Only a fraud would make a movie about how terrible the patriarchy is and then beg and then subsequently bitch at that same patriarchy for an award. The behavior is so White it makes me sick.

And so, maybe the problem isn't the patriarchy. Maybe it's Whiteness.