“But never forget that the system is rigged.”

Greta Gerwig’s movie adaptation of Barbie was a cultural phenomenon. Released in the summer, the movie brought back billions of dollars at the box office as viewers dressed up in pink to commemorate the movie’s celebration of womanhood. However, despite Barbie’s widespread popularity and impact, it has been the victim of sexist jokes, limited recognition, and reduced air-time at recent award shows. 

During the 2024 Golden Globes, host Jo Koy let out a spew of sexist jokes aimed at Barbie, Taylor Swift, and other successful female creators and projects. Barbie and Oppenheimer were released on the same day this summer, creating the online name “Barbenheimer” for their dual success. However, Koy minimized Barbie’s importance by stating, “Oppenheimer is based on a 721-page Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project, and Barbie is on a plastic doll with big boobies.” This insensitive joke proved Barbie’s entire theme of facing sexism as a woman in the modern world by reducing Barbie’s meaning to a baseline joke about women’s bodies. Koy also joked about Taylor Swift, saying, “The big difference between the Golden Globes and the NFL? On the Golden Globes, we have fewer camera shots of Taylor Swift.” Swift was unamused, and many fans ran to her defense online, frustrated that Koy’s only joke about Swift reduced her year of success in her two album releases, Eras tour, and movie premiere down to her current dating life. This is not a new phenomenon for Taylor Swift and other female artists who are perpetually spoken about in terms of their love life instead of their success. However, the Golden Globes not only made insensitive comments about women, but it also drastically limited their recognition in awards. 

Though nominated for nine Golden Globes, Barbie only received two awards, one for Billie Eillish’s song, “What Was I Made For?” and the other for Box Office Popularity. While these awards are commendable, they do not focus on the movie’s comedic/dramatic content, acting, or high-quality directing. While Barbie may not have deserved every award, the film Poor Things won best musical/comedy over Barbie, and many have noted that Barbie better fits the category’s comedic ramifications. In the past, similar dramatic films such as The Banshees of Inishereen and The Martian have overshadowed comedic films in this category. Many feel that, while Poor Things was a monumental film with an equally important message of feminism, comedy films like Barbie are often overlooked when primarily dramatic films mix into this category. For a movie with such widespread impact, several high-production musical numbers, and many comedic aspects, Barbie was seemingly disregarded with Golden Globe nominations and Academy votes. 

Further, the 2024 Critics Choice Award show responded similarly to Barbie. Though Barbie won six awards, including those for Screenplay and Best Comedy, only one award was featured on stage for television. Ironically, the featured award was for the song “I’m Just Ken,” allowing male actor Ryan Gosling time on air instead of the many female producers, directors, and actors involved in the production. As a response to this seemingly sexist denial of Barbie recognition, host Chelsea Handler interrupted the show to allow director Greta Gerwig and producer/actor Margot Robbie to make an acceptance speech for their wins. While creative work that utilizes female artists and adheres to women’s interests has always faced misogynistic discredit, many find it disappointing that even a box-office hit like Barbie has been continually disregarded at the professional level. 

Though Barbie’s instrumental effect on women and girls all around the world is ultimately more important than awards, many are saddened to see a pattern of continual sexism guiding these recent Award Shows. With the Oscars scheduled for March of this year, we hope Barbie and its inspirational theme of feminism will receive its deserved recognition soon!

Works Cited 

’24, Abby Fiedler. “Unsurprising Sexism at the Golden Globes.” The Lobby Observer

lobbyobserver.org/22092/opinion/unsurprising-sexism-at-yet-another-hollywood-award-show/. Accessed 19 Jan. 2024.

Aurthur, Kate. “Golden Globes Snubs and Surprises: A Bad Night for ‘Barbie’ and Taylor 

Swift.” Variety, 2024, variety.com/2024/tv/awards/golden-globes-snubs-surprises-2024-1235863727/. Accessed 19 Jan. 2024.

Nordyke, Kimberly. “Critics Choice Awards: Behind the Decision to Bring Greta Gerwig, 

Margot Robbie Onstage in Unplanned Moment for ‘Barbie’ Win.” The Hollywood Reporter, 2024, www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/greta-gerwig-margot-robbie-barbie-win-surprise-critics-choice-1235788557/. Accessed 19 Jan. 2024.

Spilde, Coleman. “The Golden Globes Box Office Achievement Award Is Total Bull.” The Daily 

Beast, The Daily Beast Company, 2024, www.thedailybeast.com/obsessed/the-golden-globes-box-office-achievement-award-is-total-bull. Accessed 19 Jan. 2024.