October 4, 2023

Spoiler alert: The next interview discusses a number of plot parts of the movie “Barbie.”

Earlier than Los Altos psychologist Eric FitzMedrud donned a pink tie and joined his spouse for a date evening to see the summer season blockbuster film “Barbie,” he was all too conversant in the nervousness that the character of Ken feels about his place on this planet and in Barbie’s life.

FitzMedrud makes a speciality of counseling people and {couples} on relationships and sexual points and is ready to publish a guide, “The Higher Man: A Information to Consent, Stronger Relationships, and Hotter Intercourse” (Wonderwell, 2023), in September. The guide gives males recommendation on tips on how to get previous the conflicting messages they obtain about tips on how to be “sufficient.” On one hand, he writes, males are informed that they’ll’t be masculine sufficient until they reject feminism and embrace the “abject misogyny” of sure cultural figures. Or, they fear about tips on how to enter into relationships and intercourse, with a post-#MeToo consciousness about consent.

All alongside, FitzMedrud says they’ve grown up in a patriarchal society that pushes entitlement, management and efficiency however hurts them emotionally by not permitting them to indicate vulnerability. “You need to be a very good man, however what does that even imply, when the definition of ‘good man’ retains altering,” FitzMedrud asks in his guide.

FitzMedrud agrees that Ken, winningly performed by Ryan Gosling in Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” struggles together with his what it means to be “a very good man.” Positive, Ken isn’t human, however a fictional doll who doesn’t have genitals or testosterone. Nonetheless, there’s a motive that Ken’s plight with “blonde fragility” has resonated with audiences and sparked nationwide dialog. FitzMedrud gives some the reason why.

Q: What do you consider pundits who’ve taken offense at “Barbie” and name it “anti-men?”  

A: Any pundit who thinks it’s anti-men has confused pro-women for anti-men. I by no means felt threatened watching it. The closest to that was when Ken mentioned, “Males run the world.” I do know that a whole lot of males on the underside aspect of our financial system will really feel their expertise shouldn’t be mirrored within the absolute assertion. Then I remembered it is a film about Barbie and girls, not a film about males’s liberation. The twinge lasted about 1 second.

Q: Why do you assume the movie has turn into such a phenomenon?  

A: One factor making this film so highly effective is the skillful mix of feminist views and accessible humor. I think about that it’s tapping into a way amongst girls and genderqueer folks that regardless of generational positive aspects, the victory of feminism shouldn’t be full, as evidenced by the necessity for a #MeToo motion, the rise of misogyny and the autumn of abortion rights. The film additionally appeals to males who know we have to transfer ahead with feminism.

Q: In your guide, you speak about how the patriarchy doesn’t simply harm girls, however males as nicely. Do you need to say extra about that? 

A: Some males have a tough time opening as much as feminism as a result of the primary messages we hear about it are that we’re privileged or we’re the issue. We’re privileged. However we’re additionally broken and harm by patriarchy. The patriarchal misinform males is that if we sacrifice our feelings, human connection, and well being to work and (to succeed), we are going to deserve respect, love, and admiration. … Ladies have articulated many new methods to be a girl. Males have but to embrace a multifaceted mannequin of manhood.

Q: Within the film, Ken accompanies Barbie to “the true world” and discovers a spot the place males are in cost. However after Ken brings the patriarchy again to Barbie Land, do you assume he’s actually completely happy? 

A: As a person, an important factor about this a part of the film is that Ken was nonetheless sad. He nonetheless needed Stereotypical Barbie to need him. When she didn’t, he tried to harm her emotions and even rubbed it in contemptuously, “Now, how does that really feel?” However it’s all a sham. When he sees how harm she feels, we see a flicker in his chauvinistic façade. It harm him to harm her this manner.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in a scene from "Barbie." (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)
This picture launched by Warner Bros. Photos reveals Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in a scene from “Barbie.” (Warner Bros. Photos through AP) 

Q: In placing Ken and his journey within the context of your guide, I used to be considering that the Ken we meet firstly of the film is wounded. He’s been programmed to imagine that he has no objective aside from to serve Barbie.