Barbie movie a record-breaking success despite conservative outrage

While far-right groups continue to call for boycotts over the film, Barbie is the most successful movie of 2023. 

Cast of Barbie movie stands together in front of pink B as they celebrate box-office success despite far-right criticism.
Image: Twitter @barbiethemovie

Despite facing backlash from conservative people across the world over its LGBTQ+ cast and feminist themes, after finally being released on July 21, Barbie became the most successful film of 2023.

The Barbie doll was invented by Ruth Handler in 1959 to inspire girls to imagine a world where they could aspire to have any career they desired and live the life of their dreams. This was a revolutionary thought at a time when the majority of women were restricted to the roles of wife and mother and ineligible to apply for most jobs or their own credit. The breakthrough doll led Handler to become President of Mattel for 30 years.

The 2023 film follows similar themes, inviting viewers to reflect on their own experiences with a patriarchal society and imagine a world that is free from such power structures.

The film stars Margot Robbie who plays Barbie and is also a producer on the film. She told Attitude that while the characters are void of all sexual orientations because they are dolls, the film is intentionally inclusive of all identities because “we wanted everyone to feel represented in the movie.”


In the film, Ken learns about patriarchy and attempts to take control of Barbie Land, the magical land where all Barbies and Kens (and one Alan) live. Even though some men have found the film to be eye-opening and enjoyable, many conservative voices have criticised it harshly.

Before its release, American right-wing preacher Kent Christmas called for a “holy judgement” on the film. On his radio show, Charlie Kirk, founder of the conservative group Turning Point USA, called for a boycott of the film after calling it “disgusting” and “trans propaganda”.

Some have even gone so far as to express their disappointment in the film by setting Barbie dolls on fire.


Piers Morgan said: “If I made a movie mocking women as useless dunderheads, constantly attacking ‘the matriarchy,’ and depicting all things feminist as toxic bulls–t, I wouldn’t just be canceled, I’d be executed.”

Russian MP Maria Butina said that Barbie dolls should be removed from Russia since the Barbie image promotes gay identities, sharing: “Barbie should be removed from the market, along with the Mattel company, because they bring the LGBT agenda here.”


Greta addressed the conservative responses to the Barbie movie in an interview with the New York Times, sharing that she did not expect right-wing pundits to bash the film so harshly.

While acknowledging that there was a lot of “passion” behind their statements, Greta said: “My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men. I hope that in all of that passion, if they see it or engage with it, it can give them some of the relief that it gave other people.”

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed no surprise over the conservative backlash, sharing: “…this was a doll made for little girls who was a DOCTOR and an ASTRONAUT before women in the US were even allowed to have credit cards without their husband’s permission. Of course they’re mad! They want the old days back.”

The film has been empowering for girls and women all over the world. Pakistani education activist, Malala, shared a photo of herself and her husband captioned: “This Barbie has a Nobel Prize. He’s just Ken”


Thankfully, despite conservative outrage, criticisms and calls for boycotts, Barbie continues to be a massive success with a $337 million debut worldwide, a record for a woman director. And due to the box office achievement, Mattel is receiving more publicity than it ever imagined.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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