Leesie Clegg: ‘Barbie’ is a test for men

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“I could empathize with ‘Oppenheimer’ and disagree with him at the same time. My male counterparts could not do the same for ‘Barbie.’”

Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in a scene from "Barbie."“Barbie” was an emotional experience for me. Sitting between my mom and sister, tears in my eyes, I entered Barbie Land fully along for Barbie and Gloria’s journey of reckoning. The humor was just as important as the heavy-heartedness.

Which is why I was so surprised at my dad’s response. Just on the other side of my mom, he was watching an entirely different movie. Of all the men I’ve talked to since, he seemed to have the deepest response. The rest live together in a land of caveats and dismissals.“I didn’t like it as much as ‘Oppenheimer.’ It was good, you know, funny. But I didn’t really connect with it.”

It is because they haven’t had the same kind of training to empathize with women’s perspectives yet. The men in my life have not had the same need to understand though. Their heroes and role models look like them. The people they are taught to respect and listen to are the horse-riding men that Ken is drawn to. They operate in a world that fosters their myopia.The emotional throughline is not only from a woman’s view point, it is about growing into that viewpoint by leaving the world where she, Barbie was “the man.


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