January 31, 2024

Barbie’s Oscars Snub is so Sexist.

Oh, Academy! You are a tastemaker.

I didn’t say whether it was good taste or bad taste—or bland taste lacking critical thinking skills.

“Barbie,” which was expected to sweep the Oscars like it did the globe last summer, only earned eight Oscar nominations. Yes, I said only.

I’m seeing two main reactions on the internet. One, “This is literally the plot in ‘Barbie,'” and two, “Why so sad, ‘Barbie’ earned a lot of nominations!”

I feel the younger generations don’t have the historical context to comprehend how “Barbie” is being slammed by only receiving eight nominations that I, an experienced xennial, do have. So let me explain.

First and foremost, Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie deserved the honor of at least being nominated for Best Director and Best Actress. I did not say they needed to win. Ryan Gosling was one of the first to point this out because Kenergy deep down is feminist. But the collective genius these two managed to pull off is currently receiving a passive backlash by the sexist and misogynistic Academy. I love and support the history being made by other film nominees, but I do feel that as a white woman, we’re often stuck between a rock and a hard place: male and race.

Non-white women are achieving milestones that white women have yet to hit. I’m not saying that white women need to hit them first; I’m saying that we’re excluding some women in the fight to end racism. Women of all races should be collectively hitting these milestones together, but they’re not because ending sexism often takes a back seat to ending racism in this country. We should be ending them together, not one or the other.

And sometimes what we think is “ending racism or sexism” is merely tokenism—to offer up a token of representation, but not offer a permanent seat to the whole representation. I think this is what the Academy is f*cking doing to “Barbie”: ignoring the whole representation of women and selecting a few instead of accepting, welcoming, and giving hot, woke, feminist “Barbie” a permanent seat at the table. Because isn’t Margot Robbie’s “Barbie” just the triple threat to patriarchy—female, attractive, and smart? Is omitting her Best Actress performance a message that women can be pretty but not pretty and smart?

The fact that “Barbie” did not get nominations across the board but did get nominated in some token categories just proves my point above. These younger generations telling us to chill out have absolutely no reference point to how chill we have been—like chill…as an iceberg.

You know what other film was a fictional story based on true events that was also the #1 box office of the year?


In the 90s.

Fourteen nominations. Eleven wins.

It swept the Oscars, and James Cameron exclaimed that he felt like the “king of the world.”

Of course, it had a white, male director.

But doesn’t Greta deserve the same honor? To feel like she’s the “queen of the world”? (because she is!).

Not to mention, “Barbie” is way more culturally relevant than “Titanic.” “Barbie” is the iceberg to the patriarchy ship that hardwired institutions like the Academy work so industriously to keep afloat. All the Academy has done for women is uphold gender roles through the decades and throw women just enough bones and accolades for their artistry to not get labeled as “sexist.” The Academy has gifted few Oscars to deeply feminist narratives. And “Barbie,” the shallow stereotype for girls, is actually a deeply feminist zeitgeist that goes deeper than the “Titanic” or the collective intelligence of the Academy. I bet nobody on the Academy has a degree in Women’s Studies or identifies as nonbinary? Until it gets fresh (current, cutting-edge) blood, they will not be considered an authority on the arts. The movement waits for no (little gold) man.

So, are you still buying the Titanic-sized myth that “Barbie” is being honored? Make no mistake, “Barbie” is being acknowledged and nodded at, but she is in no way being treated with enthusiastic praise and admiration for the seriousness and seismic impact that she managed to make upon the culture. Can “Barbie” really have it all is the sparkly, pink question that we have been grappling with? Why does Ken get to be Kenough and get nominated/rewarded for his vulnerability? What about “Barbie’s” vulnerability? And when does “Barbie” get to be enough?


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