Amanpour Touts 'Barbie' Movie as 'Subversively, Seriously Feminist' 'Trojan Horse' on PBS

January 18th, 2024 10:29 AM

On the PBS show Amanpour & Co., host Christiane Amanpour celebrated Latino actress America Ferrera and her monologue in the massively popular Barbie movie, where she laments "It's literally impossible to be a woman....we're always doing it wrong. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line."

Ferrera, a feminist and a Democrat, said she was "so excited," that "it's the Barbie movie that no one asked for. That no one thought we needed, you know." Amanpour shot back: "And kind of subversively, seriously feminist."

Amanpour said many probably expected a light movie about a classic doll. Ferrera replied "it very easily could have been something bright and fun and exciting, and probably would've made a lot of money and been successful. But what Greta [Gerwig] and her partner, Noah [Baumbach], did with the script, and then Greta is the director, creating this world, it was so generous and it was so exciting."


As they showed a clip of Ferrera's working-mom character deciding to cast aside her responsibilities and go skating with Barbie into Barbie Land, Amanpour called it "Right on the zeitgeist. It's almost like a Trojan Horse for those who are afraid of feminism." Ferrera said "Yes."

Amanpour continued: Certainly, some women still are. They don't even like to say the word. A certain number of men are still, you know, worried about it. The idea of doing what you all did through humor and through fun must have been kind of the way to make it even more accessible."

Ferrera agreed, that you had to have the pink plastic world and the cotton-candy atmosphere to sell the radical feminist worldview (with ten citations of "patriarchy" in the film): 

FERRERA: Absolutely. I mean, I think in a way to bring people into something that is maybe uncomfortable for them. You have to make it a party. You have to make it irresistible. You have to make it more fun over here than what's happening over there so that people perk up and listen and show up and then get exposed, you know, underneath the laughter to something that they weren't expecting to get hit with. And I mean, that's the brilliance of Greta.

And I know there's been conversations about like, well, this isn't very, you know, advanced. It's not saying anything we don't already know. First of all, there are plenty of people who don't know. There are countries around the world that banned this film for what it is and what it's saying. There's plenty of young women and people of all genders who've never had the words or thought about patriarchy and the role of women in the way that this film illuminates.

And I think that we're in trouble if what we need is for everybody to be at an advanced entry level to what we want them to understand. Like, we've got to meet each other where we are and have a conversation, whether -- whatever it's about. Inviting people in and not trying to speak down to people and say, well, this is the right way to talk about your experience as a woman.

The film is a cartoonish patriarchy, and it's really a collection of kitschy skits that doesn't hold together. Amanpour asked Ferrera the feminist Democrat if she's thought of running for office. She said no...maybe because you can be better paid and sell your leftist politics in the movies and on television.