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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CWU chapter.

Entering the last days of the winter quarter, I have found myself retreating to nostalgic media to cope. This has resulted in me listening to hours of Barbie movie soundtracks. I watched many classic Barbie films growing up, especially when I shared a room with my sister. In this age of post-irony, I find myself genuinely loving my childhood Barbie media again. Society generally dismisses media made for girls, but Barbie movies sincerely slap. The online discourse often surrounds the earliest classics such as Barbie in the Nutcracker (2001) and Barbie as Rapunzel (2002). However, I will be discussing the movies that have had my attention lately. My opinions are heavily weighted by nostalgia, but I will do my best to explain myself.

Barbie: Princess and the Pauper (2004) is arguably the most iconic Barbie movie, but have you ever seen the remake? The original is known for its sincere songs and campy villain Preminger. While the original is an absolute classic, Barbie: Princess and the Popstar (2012) is my favorite Barbie movie. Tori, the princess of Meribella, switches places with the popstar, Keira, to briefly live a different life. When switching places, Tori sees the impact a drought is having on the locals. Therefore, Tori and Keira host a free concert and magically revitalize the kingdom’s plant life. Around this time, Barbie movies were peaking in visual style. The characters, dramatic lighting, and atmospheric effects have come so far since the original’s release. The strongest part of this movie is the music. It is peak 2012 pop. My favorite songs are “Here I Am (Keira Version)” and the cover of “Perfect Day.” I will concede that “To Be a Princess / To Be a Popstar” is a bastardization of the original, but I think the addition of the popstar verse and the merging at the end of the song helps it recover. Both vocalists slay their performances. I cannot get over Keira’s subtle rasp and belting power. Full disclosure, Keira made me gay. There is no way 10-year-old me did not have a crush on Keira. I still do.

One Barbie movie stands above the others as being gay as hell: Barbie & The Diamond Castle (2008). In the film, Liana and Alexa are living a cottage core lesbian fantasy. Seriously, Liana’s dress has the colors of the lesbian flag and Alexa’s dress has the colors of the bisexual flag. While they struggle to make ends meet selling flowers, they enjoy singing with each other while playing their lutes. One day, they find a muse trapped in a magical mirror and seek to save her and restore the legendary diamond castle. While traveling, they perform my favorite song, “We’re Gonna Find It,” at a tavern in exchange for some food. Liana and Alexa are then approached by two brothers singing about how great they are. The protagonists rightly dismiss their shenanigans and continue their journey. They even adopt two puppies, whose dancing has blown up on TikTok. After they accomplish their goals and become princesses of music, Liana and Alexa choose to return to their comfy cottage to spend the rest of their days. If that isn’t the dream: retreating from society to live with your girlfriend and dogs.

I find myself greatly enjoying movies where Barbie plays herself, for example, Barbie: A Fairy Secret (2011). Peering into the the private life of the fictional celebrity is very interesting. In these types of stories, Barbie is an actress, Ken is her real-life boyfriend, and Raquelle is her rival. In Fairy Secret, Ken is kidnapped by Princess Graciella and taken to Gloss Angeles, an alternate fairy world. Barbie and Raquelle team up with some fairy stylists to rescue him. Raquelle, being the antihero, is the cause of many antics, being the foil to Barbie’s natural perfection. The two bond over the adventure, looking out to each other. When all hope is lost, trapped in an indestructible sphere, they work out their differences. The love for each other is so strong that they break free and gain literal pride flag wings. Unlike the other movies, there are no musical numbers in this ‘realistic’ Barbie movie. However, the title song “Can You Keep a Secret” goes hard. As an adult, I think about all the relationship dynamics portrayed in this film. There are positive examples of equality, long-time love, and reconciliation, as well as negative examples, like resentment, manipulation, and forcefulness.

Whether simple escapism, quality music, or overanalyzing symbolism and morals, there is something for everyone in Barbie movies. I recommend all the movies mentioned here, as well as others I did not get to. Later this year, a live-action Barbie movie will be released starring Margo Robbie, which I am very excited to see. Before then, us at the CWU chapter of Her Campus will be hosting a Barbie-themed gala. Clearly, Barbie is in vogue again, so you should indulge in some nostalgic media!

Hi, I'm Amy. I am a Graphic Design major and Film Production Minor. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games, watching reality TV, and eating spicy food.