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Woke ‘Barbie’ Bait and Switch in the Works?

Mattel, marketers play down feminist elements but actors tell different story

Hollywood may finally be learning a lesson conservatives have been shouting from the roof tops.

Get woke, go broke.

Recent woke fare like “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” and the “Willow” TV series not only got canceled in a flash but vanished from their respective streaming platforms. Then-HBO Max nixed the “Batgirl” film before it could be released, choosing a tax write-off over another potential woke dud.

Netflix deep-sized Meghan Markle’s animated “Pearl,” the “adventures of a 12-year-old girl, who is inspired by influential women from history,” before it could reach the streaming platform.

And that doesn’t include how woke has damaged enduring brands like Pixar, “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones” and the “Terminator” saga. (Not to mention Disney, Inc.)

The team behind “Barbie” are paying attention.

Barbie | Main Trailer

Mattel, the mega-two company behind the iconic doll, kept a sharp eye out while the Margot Robbie feature went through production. The company suits don’t want the film’s potentially progressive leanings to dominate the news cycle.

Not yet, at least. Wait until they count the opening weekend grosses, which could be sizable based on early predictions.

Robbie Brenner, Mattel Films’ first-ever executive producer and “the architect of its cinematic universe,” according to Time, said that the Greta Gerwig-directed film (which she co-wrote with partner Noah Baumbach) was “not a feminist movie.” It was reportedly a “sentiment echoed by other Mattel executives,” according to reporter Eliana Dockterman, and one that seemed to catch caught Robbie off guard when broached.

Robbie, who also serves as a producer on the film, gave an answer most politicians would be proud to call their own on the topic.

“Who said that?” she reportedly asked, before expounding on, in her opinion, whether the film could be labeled feminist. “It’s not that it is, or it isn’t. It’s a movie. It’s a movie that’s got so much in it.”


Amy Schumer, originally attached to play the title character, left the project over creative differences. So did ace scribe Diablo Cody, who recently shared why she departed the production.

“I didn’t really have the freedom then to write something that was faithful to the iconography; they wanted a girl-boss feminist twist on Barbie, and I couldn’t figure it out because that’s not what Barbie is.”

Meanwhile, the actors are more than happy to push the film’s potentially woke elements, disinterested in how it could impact the movie’s bottom line.

Yet the film’s marketing machine isn’t promoting its feminist bona fides. The movie’s trailers focus on fashion, fun, giddy interactions and humor.

Barbie Teaser Trailer | Warner Bros

The movie’s aggressively diverse cast is a large part of the marketing efforts, but the stars are mostly sticking to the apolitical script.


While the “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” trailer mocked capitalism, the “Barbie” sneak peeks keep the story, and the messaging, a mystery.

It’s not hard to read between the lines. Director/co-screenwriter Greta Gerwig often uses her work to explore gender issues, from “Lady Bird” to “Little Women.” The early previews suggest she did it again.

None of this shares if the movie is good, bad or indifferent. We’ll have to wait until July 21 to find out.

Yet the message discipline for “Barbie’s” marketing team has been nothing short of outstanding. Most potential movie goers won’t read the quotes from Ferrell, Gerwig or Nef. They’ll be too busy sharing the cute clips and frothy trailers on social media.

If “Barbie” is the first woke blockbuster, it’ll be partly thanks to a bait-and-switch press push.


  1. We’re going to see it Friday. I’m going to be really pissed if it’s a load of Woke garbage. My daughter went to high school with Greta G. and knew her pretty well from dance class etc. We loved Ladybird because we knew the places and a lot of the real stuff parts of it was based on.

    Hopefully they kept the gay/trans garbage to a minimum.

  2. No we just don’t want diversity equity and inclusion political nonsense shove down the kids throats I don’t care if this movie bombs because plenty of so-called woke Disney films and shows have been bombing because of the political agenda of 2023 woven into kids shows, and I’m pretty sure most people are sick of it That’s why nobody’s buying tickets to this s***

  3. If someone was trying to prove THAT YOU’RE A RACIST PIECE OF FECES, this sentence would be all they’d need.

    “The movie’s aggressively diverse cast is a large part of the marketing efforts, but the stars are mostly sticking to the apolitical script.”

    Aggressively diverse?? BUT IT STICKS TO THE LORE KLANNY!!! BARBIES WERE MADE IN EVERY COLOR AND NATIONALITY FOR AT LEAST 50 F-ING YEARS . In fact the first attempt to make a BLACK BARBIE WAS 1967 you stupid racist fake Christian pieces of human vomit!! Her name was Francie and they scrapped her because she looked like too “eurocentric” and in 1968

    “The First “black” Barbie doll, Christie, premiered in 1968 in response to the Equal Rights Movement. She was the first non-white Barbie and Barbie’s best friend.”

    SO NOW YOU OBJECT TO “AGGRESSIVE DIVERSITY” even when it’s PART OF THE FKING LORE????? Yeah, Gotcha. Klanny!

    1. Preach, how dare he not know about the history of inclusive Barbie. Obviously he is a right wing white nationalist. The plight inclusive Barbie went through and continues going through today. She’s real to me!!!

      But do you know the true enemy of the people? That’s right, the polar bear. Do you know what polar bear stands for? That’s right, white nationalist. All you hear about is the white polar bear and the melting ice caps. Do you ever hear about the BLACK bear and their plight? NO!!!!! Fight the power, save the BLACK bear!!! No more polar bears and their white hoods triple k, melting ice caps.

      Hey, it make more sense then what you are rambling on about.

    2. You have some serious anger issues. Some people want to a day without hearing about CRT, and hating on men.

      Ken was only an accessorie for Barbie, but they made him square jawed and most women wanted stud Ken, not whiney Ken.

      Yes, little gurls, and most women for that matter, prefer “manly Ken”.

      From what I heard, the Mattel C-suite are scared. Google the subject.

      Yes, the first week killed it. But the returns were unhappy. Women and gurls were very unhappy.

      Men only cared how their wives a d daughters took it

  4. Who is going to watch this movie? There are no men or boys that want to watch it, so that’s 50% of the population not going. I can’t imagine anyone who leans even a little right will go to it. It’s PG13, so most young kids who play with the toys now probably won’t go. Nostalgia only goes so far, just look how badly Are You There God, It’s Me bombed. The woke left don’t go to any of these woke movies either, just look at how bad Bros. bombed. Who wants this movie?

    1. @Kyle

      There have been films that were aimed mainly at women and made LOTS of money. Some examples:

      * Titanic: One of the highest grossing films of all time.

      *Ghost: A surprise, monster hit that was the top grossing film of 1990. This film beat out a lot of action flicks and dramas.

      * Twilight Saga: All the films were blockbusters, It’s easily the top grossing vampire franchise. (Sorry, Blade and Underworld.)

      * Hunger Games. This film franchise was a reminder that female led, sci-fi franchises can be massively popular.

      * My Big Fat Greek Wedding. A low budget rom com that became a surprise blockbuster.

      1. Those were for adults with adult themes. This is a kids movie about a doll. Get a clue.

    2. I was interested in the Barbie movie thinking it might be a train wreck or something so insane it’s great. Provided you turn your brain off and accept the idiocy it is definitely bats*** crazy in a fun way. I think if you are so anti woke that it’s like having Deranged Trump Syndrome then you’ll certainly get triggered by some moments, but if you can laugh at things like a normal person, there’s genuinely funny stuff going on.

      Gosling as a butthurt Ken and Wil Farrell as the Mattel CEO are what you expect. The overt feminism is left out of the trailers (smart marketing move imo) but there’s enough comedy and weirdly zen moments that, esp as a girl dad, I was able to enjoy. Hellen Mirren as narrator had one of the best lines in the movie, and while I still prefer her as Harley Quinn, I enjoyed the ride.

      That all said, I am not caring so much about antiwoke/woke ramblings. But Michael Cera with what I would call Scott Pilgrim flashbacks… there was enough for me to appreciate and laugh/enjoy what I got.

    3. So yeah, this comment aged worse than milk. Also, Barbenheimer was a popular meme amongst many men, that helped interest men in this film.

  5. To be fair, Barbie, as a toy, always had a feminist bent ….recall all the different career dolls you could buy, the fact that she never married Ken (the bride Barbie doll was a special edition, but the marriage evidently never took) so in that sense, to be consistent with the brand, there should be a certain amount of feminism present – that was what I loved about Barbie as a girl was the idea that she was both empowered to be and do whatever she wanted, but that she was also still very feminine.

    1. Normal Feminism, the kind represented by Barbie is the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s is not something anyone has an issue with.
      But of they include all this woke, trans nonsense going on today, and movie goers with young girls go to see the film, it will get trashed the 1st week it’s out and those who have not gone will not go!

      It could be a film with a great opening weekend and nothing else!

      We shall see!

  6. I’ve never seen so many grown men fretting over Barbie in my life. I did not know that adult men cared so much about a child’s toy. We are living in very strange times indeed.

    1. @Tom

      This isn’t new. Earlier this year, conservative pundits (grown men) were freaking out over The Little Mermaid, whose target audience is also little girls.

      On that note, Steve Shives posted a great video exploring the cause of this odd phenomenon.

  7. Actor Simu Liu, who plays one of the many Kens in the upcoming “Barbie” movie, said the film will put the “final nail in the coffin of that very heteronormative idea of what gender is.”

    That’s from an article at Breitbart. They’re not keeping it all that secret!

    1. If audiences really want to see a film, “controversial” statements from cast members or the filmmaker won’t deter them.

      A great example was “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which Breitbart predicted would “go broke” after James Cameron expressed liberal views on gun control and environmental issues in various interviews. Instead, the film grossed over $2 billion globally, thus ensuring future sequels got the green light from Disney:

      Clearly, Avatar fans and casual moviegoers either agree with Cameron’s views or don’t view them as a turnoff.

      1. Fred2, it is nice to see someone posting here that has common sense. I agree with your statement.

      2. Avatars appeal is primarily due to the visuals. The story/script in both movies is terrible!
        These movies are the equivalent of Disney’s Fantasia, a movie specifically done to show off the animation talents at Disney!

      3. It’s due to the competition, or lack thereof. People just pick what they hope will be the least preachy film, but they all are nothing more than propaganda films now. All but the completely brain washed will quit paying to see this garbage someday soon, and then the movies will get the bud light treatment.

      4. Avatar is a completely different animal. We are avid moviegoers (4 in theaters in the last two weeks) and had planned to see Barbie. Not any more. Maybe we’ll catch it when it goes for free on cable, but no way will I spend $ at the theater.

        PS I actually liked Indiana Jones, though it didn’t stack up to others in the series.

      5. This may come as a surprise to people here, but most moviegoers don’t abide the divisive political narratives being thrust upon them by websites like this one that exaggerate statements taken out of context to drum up fake controversy. We just enjoy the story and characters and leave the eternally online folks to their miserable, petty squabbles.

  8. My question is why is a film based on the interests of millions of grade school aged girls PG-13? I have spent a fortune on Barbie for 4 granddaughters aged 4 through 9. They love the very snappy trailer. Just why couldn’t they leve Barbie to the little girls?

    1. Because a “G” rating on a movie is a death sentence unless it is a Disney or Pixar movie.
      I doubt the content is “PG” at all but the producer lobbied for that rating!

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