The Barbie Movie: A Psychologist’s Take on Dopamine Dressing and Self-Expression

As a psychologist who often comments on media and pop culture, I’m intrigued by the release of the Barbie movie and the trends it’s sparking. The movie seems to be sending two significant messages: one about the power of color and self-expression, often referred to as “Barbiecore,” and the other about promoting body positivity and diversity. In this blog post, we will explore these themes, their potential impact on mental health, and the evolution of Barbie from a simple doll to a symbol of empowerment.

The Power of Barbiecore

First, let’s delve into the concept of “Barbiecore.” In recent times, there has been a growing trend of what’s known as dopamine dressing and decor, characterized by bright colors, playful aesthetics, and a sense of joy. Barbiecore encapsulates this trend, and it’s more than just a fashion statement; it’s about embracing positivity, self-expression, and pushing against societal beauty standards that have long been a source of stress and anxiety.

Barbiecore aims to infuse a sense of playfulness and fun into our lives, reminding us of the joy that can be found in embracing vibrant colors and expressing our unique personalities through our choices. It’s a celebration of diversity and individuality, breaking away from rigid beauty ideals and encouraging people to find their authentic selves.

Impact on Mental Health

For many young women and even men, societal beauty standards have created immense pressure and anxiety. The unattainable images portrayed in media can lead to body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. However, Barbiecore offers a refreshing antidote. By promoting colorful, playful self-expression and body positivity, it challenges these harmful standards and encourages individuals to celebrate their uniqueness.

A study found that young girls tend to show bias toward thinner bodies, which can have negative implications for their mental health and how they treat others. Barbiecore’s emphasis on diversity and embracing different body types is a step in the right direction to combat these harmful biases.

Barbie’s Digital Marketing Efforts

Barbie has evolved with the times, and its digital marketing efforts reflect a commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility. It recognizes that Barbie is not just a toy for girls but a symbol that can resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Barbie’s campaigns, such as #CloseTheDreamGap and Sheroes, celebrate inspirational women and reinforce the importance of inclusion and social justice. The Inspiring Women’s Collection showcases dolls inspired by real-life women who have broken barriers and made significant contributions to society. Barbie’s versatility extends to her careers as well, ranging from astronaut to president, inspiring young minds to dream big.

The Conversation about Choices and Ken’s Role

One aspect of the Barbie movie that deserves attention is the role of Ken. While Barbie has been at the forefront of the conversation about women’s choices, it’s equally important to discuss Ken’s place in her world. The movie presents Ken as an individual with his own desires and aspirations, not just as an accessory to Barbie. This shift highlights the importance of recognizing that individuals in a relationship should have the freedom to be themselves.

Kenergy and Curiosity

The energy surrounding the Barbie movie is palpable, and the trend of Barbiecore is an exciting cultural phenomenon. It will be interesting to see if the movie lives up to the marketing hype. The movie seems to be sparking curiosity and encouraging conversations about individuality, self-expression, and the evolving dynamics of modern relationships.

Dispelling Misconceptions

One misconception that has emerged is that the Barbie movie is anti-men. While it certainly takes a stance against misogyny, it does not depict negative interactions between Barbie and Ken. In fact, their relationship is characterized by good communication and respect. Margot Robbie’s portrayal of a “stereotypical Barbie” not being interested in Ryan Gosling, for example, is not a statement against men but a reflection of individual preferences.

Ken-Enough: Embracing Authenticity

One of the most positive messages of the movie is that Ken is encouraged to be himself, not just a reflection of Barbie. This theme emphasizes the importance of authenticity in relationships and self-discovery. It’s a reminder that individuals in a partnership should be allowed to explore their own interests and passions, apart from their partner’s influence.

Two Parts of the Movie

The Barbie movie can be divided into two distinct parts, each symbolizing a different aspect of the Barbie world. Part one captures the essence of Barbie-Land, characterized by vibrant colors, disco parties, and the positive relationships between various Barbie characters. It mirrors the playful way people engage with Barbies, offering a plastic but accurate depiction of imaginative play.

Part two delves into the real world and the role of Mattel as a company. In this part, Barbie grapples with existential questions, yearning for more than being an object. Her desire to create and contribute to the world reflects the aspiration for self-expression and personal growth.

American Ferrera’s “Barbie” Monologue

One of the most impactful moments in the movie is American Ferrera’s “Barbie” monologue. She articulates the silent expectations that individuals often face, highlighting the pressure to conform to societal norms and the struggles that come with it. This monologue serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of self-acceptance and challenging societal expectations.


The Barbie movie is more than just a nostalgic trip down memory lane; it’s a cultural phenomenon that celebrates self-expression, body positivity, and individuality. Barbiecore is a trend that encourages us to embrace the power of dopamine dressing and decor, infusing our lives with color, joy, and authenticity. It challenges harmful beauty standards and promotes diversity, which can have a positive impact on mental health and societal attitudes.

Barbie’s digital marketing efforts and campaigns, focused on inclusivity and social responsibility, reinforce the idea that Barbie is for everyone, regardless of age or gender. The movie also encourages conversations about choices and the importance of authenticity in relationships.

Ultimately, the Barbie movie offers a refreshing take on self-discovery and personal growth, reminding us that we should be unapologetically ourselves, embrace our unique qualities, and challenge the expectations placed upon us. It’s a vibrant, thought-provoking journey that goes beyond the plastic world of Barbie to explore the complexities of the human experience.



CODE: 2024