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Barbie and Ken from the Barbie movie.

You Are KENough

In the search for identity, Barbie can teach us more than we think…

The journey of self-discovery and self-identity is an essential part of every teenager’s life. As we navigate the complexities of growing up and finding our place in the world, we often turn to various sources for guidance and inspiration. Surprisingly, one unexpected source of insight into these topics is the Barbie movie. Beyond its colorful visuals and clever story, the Barbie movie provides valuable lessons that resonate deeply with teenagers, offering valuable life lessons about growing up and becoming your true authentic self.

The Barbie movie transcends the traditional fairy-tale storyline and splits its time between the fictional world of BarbieLand and the real world of Los Angeles. One of the worlds – BarbieLand – is a perfect world made especially for Barbie herself. Every day is perfect for Barbie and yet every day is the same. Nothing ever changes in BarbieLand… until Margot Robbie’s eponymous Barbie suddenly considers the concept of dying. Almost immediately, Barbie’s perfect life starts to spin out of control and the only way to fix it is by crossing over from BarbieLand to the real world.

Barbie and Ken in a car driving.
There’s nothing like a road trip with your best Kens!

Just as the characters in the Barbie movie embark on journeys of self-discovery, so do teenagers. The film showcases how characters learn about their strengths, passions, and limitations through their adventures between worlds – what was once normal might now seem quaint and what you might have once desired can now seem silly. These scenarios resonate with teenagers who often find themselves torn between conforming to their peers’ expectations and staying loyal to their values and interests. The movie serves as a reminder that making choices based on personal convictions, rather than external pressures, is crucial in maintaining a strong sense of self-identity.

The Barbie movie encourages teenagers to approach their journey of self-discovery with an open mind and a willingness to learn from both successes and setbacks. While BarbieLand and the real world are radically different from each other, both Barbie and Ken learn from this adversity and choose to become happy for themselves, not anyone else. Their journey teaches them that self-identity is not a fixed destination, but a continuous evolution.

Barbie dancing.
It’s okay to be a different person than you used to be – growth is a continual process!

Movies can be a powerful tool for fostering empathy, building resilience, and promoting emotional intelligence, and the Barbie movie provides a space for viewers to witness characters overcoming challenges, learning coping mechanisms, and seeking help when needed. While we might not all have a mojo dojo casa house where we can party with our friends, all of us have our own Barbies, Kens, and Allens to make our life better and to provide support as we become our best possible selves. By encouraging help-seeking behavior, the Barbie movie instills the notion that seeking assistance is a strength rather than a weakness—a critical message for young minds who may feel hesitant about expressing their feelings. You might sometimes fight with other Kens, but at the end of the day they’ve always got your back – especially for a sweet dance number on the beach.

In a world where mental health is increasingly recognized as a fundamental aspect of overall well-being, incorporating these themes into movies is a valuable way to shape future generations with empathy and understanding. As the Barbie movie inspires conversations about mental health, we can all hope to see more content creators embracing their role in fostering mental health awareness and empowering viewers of all ages.

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