The Complexities of Womanhood in Barbie: The Movie - Subtly Anxious

The Complexities of Womanhood in Barbie: The Movie

In the animated world of Barbie movies, it’s much more than adventures and princess-themed fantasies. Beyond the role as a favourite toy or as a famous movie character, Barbie represents the epitome of idealised femininity and serves reflects society’s expectations about womanhood.

The Barbie movies, in their unique and glamourised style, have cleverly written in the intricacies of emotions such as anxiety and depression. These emotions, often never openly discussed, are intrinsic parts of the journey of life, particularly in womanhood.

Despite the vibrant colors and fantastical settings, Barbie: The Movie subtly and again quite cleverly dissects the emotional dynamics of womanhood.

While most of the scenes revolve around courage, resilience, and determination, they are also layered within are portrayals of emotional struggles that womanhood often grapples with.

As a symbol of perfection, Barbie, with her unrivaled beauty, impeccable fashion sense, and her courage to conquer any hurdle, also bears the weight of expectations. Expected to do well, look perfect, and maintain balance in her life, her character mirrors real-life women who struggle with the daily pressure and expectations of working, being a mum and being a working mum. This is how I viewed it anyway. This then can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

My absolute favourite scene is the scene when Barbie becomes overwhelmed, feeling helpless, and is unsure about her path which suggests by a random passer by that she’s feeling anxiety and uncertainty.

Again, the scene where she isolates herself or expresses a struggle with her self-esteem, these scenes portray the onset of mild depression.

This subtle inclusion helps in normalising the conversation around anxiety and depression. By mirroring these emotions through a well-loved character like Barbie, the creators prepare a young audience for the future odds that life might bring. They give a name to feelings that are complex to understand, particularly for a young audience.

Barbie's character growth throughout her films also reflects the resilience many women must develop when facing mental health issues. By showing Barbie drawing on her internal strength, reaching out for help, or reconciling with her own emotions, the films highlight the importance of seeking support and using personal resilience when confronting emotional challenges.

Another strength of Barbie: The Movie is in portraying that vulnerability doesn't mean weakness. Barbie, despite her struggles, is one resilient woman. She never loses her compassion and kindness in her journey something that resonates with real-life women battling their emotional struggles.

The Barbie Universe, with all its glitz and glamour, strategically demonstrates the intricate aspects of womanhood, emotions, and their accompanying struggles. Underneath the pink shades of perfection, the heartfelt struggles of Barbie subtly sketch the emotions that come with being a woman, normalising the emotional complexities around anxiety and depression.


Understanding womanhood, especially its emotional aspects, requires peeling back the layers of societal and inner expectations and acknowledging the often-missed undercurrents of anxiety and depression. Barbie: The Movie does a commendable job in starting the conversation while providing an engaging narrative for viewers of all ages.

If you are yet to see the movie, make it a must watch. 

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