Margot Robbie on the Over-Sexualization of Barbie — and How She Inspired Girls to Dream Big
Margot Robbie opens up about how Barbie changed the way young girls thought about their futures in 'Vogue's' latest 'Life in Looks'
Barbie is a feminist — at least according to Margot Robbie. The actress embodying the doll in this summer's Barbie movie opened up during Vogue's latest episode of the web series Life in Looks about how the iconic doll can "put on a suit and she's a lawyer" or "put on a space helmet, and she's an astronaut" in a time when "women couldn't even have their own bank accounts."
Robbie said that when the doll launched in the late 1950s, it was unprecedented that Barbie "owned her own house" and "owned her own car," especially when her "cute boyfriend" Ken, whom she described as nothing but an accessory to the blonde bombshell, "doesn't have a house. Or a car. Or a job. Or any power" as she told Vogue in her Summer 2023 cover story.
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This inverse of the real world, which in Robbie's upcoming Barbie film is "authentically artificial" and "really fake," helped little girls imagine themselves having "their own house, their own car," and "their own career," Robbie added of the doll's influence.
The actress believes Barbie inspired girls who held the doll, and "had some sort of impact" on what they believed was possible for their futures, despite any controversy surrounding the "first woman doll," as Robbie called her.
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Part of this controversy is the sexualization of Barbie, though Robbie believes the character she plays in the film is anything but sexual.
As she told Vogue, "She's a doll. She's a plastic doll. She doesn't have organs. If she doesn't have organs, she doesn't have reproductive organs. If she doesn't have reproductive organs, would she even feel sexual desire? No, I don't think she could."
She continued, "She is sexualized. But she should never be sexy. People can project sex onto her. Yes, she can wear a short skirt, but because it's fun and pink. Not because she wanted you to see her butt."
You can see that from the trailer in which Barbie, played by Robbie, and Ken, played by Ryan Gosling, are outside of the house she owns when Ken asks, "I thought I might stay over tonight," to which Robbie's character asks, "Why?" and Ken responds, "Because we're girlfriend-boyfriend."
The answer doesn't satisfy Barbie, though, who asks, "To do what?" leading Ken to say, "I'm actually not sure."
Because Barbie doesn't dress to be seen or sexualized, she "dresses with intention," Jacqueline Durran, the film's costume designer, told Vogue.
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"Barbie doesn't dress for the day. She dresses for the task," she added, like in her black-and-white striped swimsuit, shown in the trailer, neon roller skates, pink presidential fashion, a Western-inspired look or a gingham sun hat to block out the "artificial" sun.
Whatever the outfit, whatever the reason, though, one thing is for sure: Barbie's impact on fashion is undeniable. (Shout out Barbiecore.)
Vogue's Summer 2023 issue will be available on newsstands nationwide on June 6. The Barbie movie hits theaters July 21.
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