By Vivian Collings
Last Tuesday, after work, I threw on a bright pink sweater and made my way to Highlands Cinemas with a friend.
To see Oppenheimer, of course.
When we got there, we were all giggles and laughs, sitting at the back row of the theatre, watching the seats steadily fill with other pink sweater-wearers and gigglers.
I heard a few things about the movie before going in.
In my head I still thought, “But it’s Barbie. It has to mostly just be a silly movie with lots of pink.”
I looked forward to a little break from the real world.
And for the first little bit, it was.
We laughed at the jokes and Ken’s character, dreamed about living in Barbie’s Dream House.
Up until the real message started seeping through my rose-coloured glasses.
I had a hard time laughing my way through once it became clear.
It was hitting too close to home, for me – for every woman.
Exactly how the creators planned it.
The entire movie is satire exposing our society’s patriarchy.
It’s all disturbing, every aspect of how this has been engrained in all genders for centuries, how that intergenerational issue affects each and every person in this society differently.
But I keep going back to those rose-coloured glasses in particular.
I felt really silly in pink.
I wanted to take my sweater off in the cool theatre, sitting under the air conditioning.
I could feel my eyes welling up, from sadness and anger, particularly at the part of the movie where actress America Ferrera reads the monologue.
It’s too long to include in a 600 word editorial, but I’d highly suggest looking it up.
It took director Greta Gerwig months to perfect.
One part of it said women are pressured to “always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful.”
So back to the rose-coloured glasses…
Why am I blaming myself for having them? For not seeing clearly from the start?
I’m thinking about the story on page two of this paper today.
I won’t get into it – you can read about the alleged crime for yourself if you feel comfortable learning more.
But rose-coloured glasses. Every kid goes off to summer camp with a pair – excited for fun and adventures and making new friends, assuming the adults around them can be trusted.
Why should they have to even acknowledge the faulty system?
The young victims involved were robbed of their glasses from the individual at that camp.
It is innately far too wrong for children to have to see the world without a soft pink hue.
But beyond that, in this twisted world, we also don’t equip children and youth properly in schools with tools to recognize darkness where it exists to protect themselves and find trustworthy help. We shouldn’t have to, but clearly we need to.
And the fact that I, as a 23 year old woman, was blindsided by the Barbie movie, likely along with many others in that theatre, is proof that we still have rose-coloured glasses about life, about the patriarchy.
We’re going in the right direction, with millions of people even simply watching Barbie as a start.
But in the wise words of a song from Hairspray, one of my other favourite movies, “we’ve come so far, but we’ve got so far to go.”