I love a good color pink. Admittedly, I never thought of it as a color that belonged to one gender or another. Simply a pretty aesthetic. However, after the movie Barbie’s release, I know one thing for sure. Pink now, unarguably, belongs to everyone.
Whether you identify as a Barbie or Ken or anyone else, you belong in pink.
Now, I loved Barbie as a kid and I still do even now. For us old-timers, we remember Barbie from the good old days when she waved wands, had magical adventures with talking animals and sang songs to summon secret diamond castles. In a way, despite all the glitter and tiaras she wore, movies like Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus and Barbie in Princess and the Pauper allowed for a wider variety of audiences to enjoy them. Barbie didn’t focus solely on pink and sparkles. The movies taught more about lessons on friendship, bravery, kindness and love.
Watching a Barbie movie back then felt like the equivalent of watching a magical anime girl show now. Yeah, I guess it had a dominant audience of girls, but anyone could enjoy the fun adventures, the thrilling chases and the suspenseful mysteries. Only later on, with no one knowing why, did the Barbie franchise start to focus more on the Malibu girl. While it still maintained a huge audience, it comprised almost exclusively of girls. Much like Greta Gerwig turning the 2019 movie Little Women into a beacon for all cottage-core and academia aesthetic lovers everywhere, she did the same thing again here as director of Barbie.
Except instead of the 1860s Massachusetts aesthetic, we get… a lot of pink.
Fun fact: back when the Little Women movie came out, fans clamored for an Oscar’s award for best costume and set design. The movie’s costumes reminded me a lot of Bridgerton. Not for the outfits themselves, but because Little Women made such an impression in terms of aesthetic that it felt impossible to see clips of the film without knowing immediately where they came from. Barbie does the exact same thing now. You can’t see the many different swaths of pink without knowing you’re watching Barbie.
And yet, men and women both went to watch the movie. Men and women got excited about dressing in pink and being part of the social media trend. Ryan Gosling even shows up to interviews dressed in pink. You know what? It really brings out his eyes. My point in all of this?
Where pink once felt like an exclusively girly color, it now feels like it embodies an entire trend meant for everyone.
Oh, you want to wear pink? Perfect! Ryan did. Ken did. The entire world did for a good portion of the week. People still, in fact, rush to wear the rosy color long after its premiere. Why? Because Barbie established itself as a particular style. If you wanted to dress as a pink cowgirl, well hey! Barbie did it, so you can, too! If you want to wear a pink tank top, no problem! Ken loved his pink tank top! Most importantly though, Barbie showed the sheer AWESOMENESS of dressing however you want, in whatever color you want and being totally confident wearing it. Being yourself? Barbie did it, and she rules! Literally.
They call it Barbieland, people.
I think the issue of gender stereotyping feels too important, deep and complex to just mention in a brief throwaway line in this article focusing on the importance of pink. At least I can’t deny that, especially when it comes to more traditionally feminine clothing and colors, there exists a label. Pink and fluffy? Must be girly. Barbie really took that label and said, “Nah. Everyone looks good in pink so we want to put them all in pink.” As someone who loves and feels the most beautiful in pink, I love the constant excuses to see it everywhere I turn.