Anyone who grew up with a Barbie (or Ken) doll will be enthralled by this piece. It explores not just the new film, but also Barbie’s history and complicated relationship with feminism. There has been a flood of Barbie content recently, but this reporting has far more depth than most.
“Barbie,” too, is a coming-of-age story; the figure coming of age just happens to be a full-grown piece of plastic. “Little Women” would have been a fine alternate title for it. Same with “Mothers & Daughters,” a working title for “Lady Bird.” For Barbie, as in both those other films, growing up is a matriarchal affair. It is something you do with your mother, your sisters, your aunties. Or, in Barbie’s case, with the women threaded through your product history.