Shakira found the movie “Barbie” fascinating

There’s no arguing that Shakira is a feminist icon. Entering the new year after one year broke up very publicly with her long-time partner and father of her two sons, Gerard Piqué, she overcame a painful experience and turned it into a universal victory. Her latest studio album, “Las mueses y no lloran“is a testament to independence and the strength that comes with it. It’s a sentiment that many people, especially women, can relate to. In a recent Allure cover interview published on 1 April, Shakira took a deep dive into what that power looks like and what it means to be a healed woman today. But one thing that stood out in the interview was the controversial perspective singer about another pillar of feminist pop culture. “Barbie” movie.

Shakira shared that her sons “absolutely hated” the movie because they “found it too exciting”. “I like pop culture when it tries to empower women without robbing men of their ability to be men,” the singer said.

And while part of me understood that reaction, I couldn’t help but respectfully agree with her. Feminism is not just a theory but also a practice and different people practice it differently. Just because Shakira doesn’t like the movie “Barbie” doesn’t mean she’s any less a feminist. Her view of the film, however, is shared by a vocal minority, and one I’ve heard echoed by a lot of men (and right-wing politicians like Ted Cruz), many of them won’t even watch “girl movies”. .”

So as a man who not only absolutely loves “Barbie” but finds the message even more subtle than “men suck, women are better,” I wanted to consider how many who may have misunderstood Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s script. First, the film does not portray men as vibrant and shallow characters just for the sake of belittling them. The film portrays them as what they are: victims. The Kens family has been robbed by Barbieland’s matriarchy of any real agency and opportunity to be anything more than eye candy, a system that perversely places women in every important role in the whole society. Sound familiar? It is the exact opposite of patriarchy but still achieves the same result: oppression of the opposite sex.

That’s right, much of Kens’ dilemma and subsequent takeover of Barbieland sees the stupidity dial turned up to the max – eliminating masculine culture. But at its heart is a commentary on the importance of being appreciated on a societal level. At every corner, Ken’s family was marginalized by the society they served. This puts them in conflict with Barbies – not with women. Instead, Kens’ struggle is intended to parallel the struggles women experience in real life. It also shows how patriarchy can devastate the men it empowers.

By adopting patriarchy, Ken’s family forces themselves to accept the often rigid criteria that men must adhere to in order to be considered masculine. As a result, there are too many cowboy hats, trucks, horses, and Mojo Dojo Casas, regardless of whether Ken personally loves these things or not. They gained power, yes, but they were still denied individuality, only this time by their own hands.

Shakira mentioned that “men have their purposes too” and “she wants her sons to feel powerful… while respecting women.” But this is exactly the ending note of the film. For the first time, Ken’s family is allowed to decide their role in society. And for the first time, it won’t focus on supporting Barbies’ wants or needs but instead on what they want for themselves.

But what about the notion that movies “empower” men? Sure, Ken’s family could have had more depth than “the beach” as a job, but I don’t think it would have been as funny or effective as an allegory about the loss of agency that comes with oppression. photo. I don’t see it as weak. But I find the uproar around it telling.

As an Afropuertorriqueño, I often do not benefit from the diversity of stories or the existence of countless films, shows, or other media that present my people in a variety of roles and perspectives. Differences. But as a man? Sure, I know. I can turn on the TV right now and find a movie about an evil, dog-loving killing machine (“John Wick”), a movie about a physically deprived, abandoned child using his intelligence. alliance to overcome and survive many empires (“Game of Thrones”), the film is about a reluctant savior who inherits his mother’s magic and his father’s kingdom, while also using uses both to become a literal messiah (“Dune”), and the list goes on. The story’s diversity means there are enough positive depictions of characters like us that the negative depictions don’t carry much weight. Or at least you think.

But you make a movie where the men – or in this case the Kens – are portrayed as superficial accessories who are always competing for the affections of a woman and have no other purpose other than serving her desires, and that cancels all the rest . Perhaps, in the same vein, we should consider the impact of negative images of women and people of color on screen.

Miguel Machado is a journalist with expertise in the intersection of Latino identity and culture. He does everything from exclusive interviews with Latin music artists to opinion pieces on issues relevant to the community, to personal essays tied to Latinidad his, as well as thoughts and characteristics related to Puerto Rican and Puerto Rican culture.

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