What We Can Learn From the Barbie Movie Part 1

Spoiler alert – some plot points are revealed.

I had no expectations and was even a bit skeptical going to see the Barbie movie, having personally never owned a Barbie doll. However, I was amazed at how Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach used humor, a clever script and a hero/heroines journey to address many issues we are facing today. It can be difficult to capture the nuances regarding issues of gender, inequality, consumerism, etc. without defaulting to black and white thinking. While the movie can be explored from various angles, in this two part series, I will focus on Barbie’s journey of self-discovery.

Our Ideas of Happiness Can Trap Us

Some writers have compared Barbie Land to the Garden of Eden – all is perfect, every day is the same, and everyone is happy. Until Stereotypical Barbie blurts out: Do you guys ever think about death?” This creates a crack in the pink façade and was a jolt to me as well. Barbie Land is created to appear idyllic, but it is rigid being plastic, with no room for change, growth, challenge, or emotions such as sadness or disappointment. It is an illusory world that echoes our societys obsession with happiness and perfection. Fear of death, doubt or any real feelings have no place here.



This death thought begins a journey out of Eden, where she starts feeling and noticing things she has not felt before like cellulite, an inability to walk in high heels, sadness and doubt. She knows something is off. Hilarious yet symbolic of our inevitable need to face our own reality – our feelings, mortality and the journey of the body changing and aging. We have a choice to either accept ourselves for who and what we are, or continue to fight the flow of nature that is our life cycle, and suffer in the illusion. 

Our Authentic Feelings Can Free Us - The Only Way Out is Through

How can the Barbie movie give us pointers for our own journey of self-acceptance and growth? It starts with feelings.


There is a scene in which Stereotypical Barbie learns to cry. She experienced tears for the first time with innocence and curiosity. So many of us learned to suppress our real feelings for a long list of reasons that had the goal of keeping us safe but resulted in being stuck in a unreal life. To get unstuck, we have to start with learning how to sit and just be with our feelings.


“I also just learned to cry. First, there was one tear. Then I got a whole bunch.” – Barbie


Thats how it was for me when I first started to meditate daily. Just the act of stopping and being with myself, allowed for a stream of emotions that I had kept down – for years. Denying or judging our feelings is a form of self-abandonment. We even have a phrase, “ugly crying” that reflects this! Because of our society’s tendency to ignore feelings, like Barbie, most of us do need to learn to process emotions fully. 


Here’s one of the processes I teach in my online course, Emotional Alchemy: 

1.     Simply notice when you are having an emotion.

2.     Relax with slow deep breaths.

3.     Allow time to feel and be with the emotion.

4.     Refrain from judgment, analysis or going into a story about it.

5.     Notice where you feel it in the body.

6.     Continue relaxing, breathing and feeling.

7.     Notice what happens  – does the emotion shift, move through? Did you get an insight or feel a resolution?

Healing and wholeness result from slowing down and being with all those parts of ourselves that got ignored or suppressed and yes, having an “ugly cry” from time to time.

If you want to learn more about the importance of emotional health and a process to work with your emotions as inner guides on your own path of self-acceptance and growth, click on the link below to register for Emotional Alchemy, an on-demand course.

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