It's Fantastic!

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: From left in the Barbie box, Connie Yan, 29, Los Angeles, an agent, Camil...
The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

We Need More “Going To See The ‘Barbie’ Movie” Energy

More pink joy everywhere please.

You know when you’re a 14-year-old freshman participating in her first high school Spirit Week, and you’re overly thrilled with the idea of dressing up in themed clothing? How you can’t wait to find the perfect fringed vest for “groovy day” or to paint your hair purple for the big homecoming game? That sheer delight and celebratory energy of being excited about something silly and frivolous has always been my favorite thing to harness, but it gets more complicated as you become an adult woman. Have you ever tried going to work dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West on Halloween or putting Princess Leia buns in your hair on May 4th? Tricky.

But the Barbie movie is bringing it back.

You might love the Barbie movie for its winking existentialism and self-aware embrace of consumerism. You might find yourself unexpectedly moved by its ode to the complexities of motherhood; you can keep an eagle eye out for every cinematic (and Barbie-multiverse) Easter egg; you can just delight in the exuberant silliness of Ryan Gosling’s Kenergy. But so far, my absolute favorite thing about the Barbie movie has been the freedom it has given so many women (and a lot of men) to just be utterly delighted and happy and unashamedly themselves again.

Dressing up for the Barbie movie and getting visibly excited about a cinematic masterpiece starring the fashion doll you were mocked for playing with? Well that’s the boost we all need. And judging by how many people I know have posted photos of themselves on Instagram in bright pink finery, it’s something we were all craving.

“Hi, Barbie!” says the person filling your popcorn bucket at your sold-out 4:30 afternoon screening. “Love that hot pink dress!” the woman sitting next to you in the theater whispers. “Where did you get that Barbie shirt?!” a teenager in white cat-eye glasses asks you in the bathroom. “Come on, Barbie, let’s go party!” your best friend shouts when she sees you in the parking lot putting on your glittery heels.

The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

It’s brought about a feeling of belonging and of community, yes, but it’s also just fun. And (as America Ferrara’s character Gloria said) being a woman in America isn’t always fun. Being a woman means being told we’re doing it wrong all the time, that we’re too emotional, that we’re vapid and frivolous, that we’re silly and not serious enough.

What a joy it is for our kids to see us happy and silly and excited. To watch us love something because we just love it, and expressing that however we want. It’s like dressing up in your Hogwarts robes on an 85-degree Orlando day and asking a stranger to take a picture of you with your wand pointed at the sky in front of the Hogwarts Express. It’s like putting red, white, and blue streamers in your hair on the 4th of July, or wearing Christmas pajamas to board a Polar Express train ride and drink hot chocolate. It’s Mickey Ears at Disney World, rainbow tulle skirts during a Pride parade, friendship bracelets at a Taylor Swift concert.

Barbie may ask, “Do you guys ever think about dying?” in the movie, but I’m convinced that the actual lesson in the story is to keep thinking about living. About joy and delight and excitement. About dressing in all pink and going to the movies just because you want to.