Cover image of the review
Geena Davis at the ACMI Goddess Red Carpet Premiere, Photograph by Lucas Dawson


29 Jul 2023
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) 5 Apr - 1 Oct 2023

If there is one Goddess making a visitation in Melbourne at the moment, it’s Barbie. The newly released blockbuster film, directed by Greta Gerwig, promises to both satirise and delight in the legacy of the ageless, entrepreneurial blonde doll who embodies all of the normative cultural fantasies of a young white woman of her time. Like Venus, she was born a fully grown adult in perfect proportions, though dressed in a swimsuit instead of the sea. Her nipples and genitals were erased entirely from the curious eyes and hands of children rather than elegantly obscured by a modest lock of hair or fold of cloth, which is how we are used to seeing goddesses in art or actresses with specific nudity clauses in their film contracts. Barbie’s sexuality has always been both present and absent. Many children who grew up playing with the doll have memories of rubbing her together with Ken or another Barbie (in my case it was Batman, they then had a Pikachu baby together).

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