Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig Addresses Backlash from Conservative Barbie Detractors

In the face of vehement reproach that included actual doll incineration, the acclaimed director asserted that her film extends ‘an open invitation to everyone to join the celebration.’

Greta Gerwig, the director of the Barbie movie, has responded to the torrent of criticism originating from the right-wing community in the US, positioning her film as an ‘open invitation to everyone to join the celebration.’

When asked by the New York Times if she had foreseen “the extent to which right-wing pundits are condemning the movie as ‘woke’ and even destroying their Barbie dolls,” Gerwig, who both co-wrote and directed the movie, stated: “Undeniably, there’s a substantial amount of fervor. My aspiration for the movie is for it to serve as an invitation to everyone to join the celebration and to abandon those notions that are not really beneficial to us, be we women or men.”

She continued by expressing, “I trust that amidst all this fervor, should they watch or interact with it, it can offer them the same sense of comfort it has offered others.”

The film’s feminist themes have provoked backlash from conservative commentators like Ben Shapiro, who incinerated Barbie dolls in a YouTube video, and Ginger Luckey Gaetz, wife of Republican congressman Matt Gaetz, who criticized the movie for “failing to incorporate any element of faith or family, and attempting to normalize the idea that men and women cannot have a positive collaboration.”

Gerwig also addressed in the interview the criticism that Mattel, the company owning the Barbie doll franchise and also serving as the executive producer of the movie, had a creative influence on its production. The specific scene where a character called the dolls “sexist and fascist” was a focal point. “I never really received full approval from [Mattel], like a ‘We love it!’ It was more of a tentative, ‘Well, OK. I see your intention, so proceed and we’ll monitor the outcome.’ But that’s sufficient, and I was confident that once it was incorporated and they saw it, they would support it, not oppose it. Perhaps at the end of the day, my determination to include it was more potent than any resolve to remove it.”

Despite the conservative backlash, Barbie has already achieved significant success, marking the record highest opening weekend for a female-directed film at US$356m (£276m, A$527m), $162m of which came from the US alone. After just four days of release, the worldwide earnings are now projected at $414m.

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