Margot Robbie Reveals the Barbie Line That ‘Terrified’ Mattel

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This article contains Barbie spoilers.

The final bit of dialogue in the Barbie screenplay is one of the funniest, as well as most subversive. Over the course of two hours, audiences have watched one of the most beloved (and commercialized) icons of femininity in American pop culture experience a dawning self-awareness about what it truly means to be a woman. And in the final scene of the movie, she becomes one, with the newly relocated Barbie now going by the name “Barbra Handler” in the real world. More important though is she’s seeing a doctor for the first time, and it’s for a specific type of checkup.

“I’m here to see my gynecologist!” Barbara beams, complete with Margot Robbie’s usual incandescent smile. It’s a brilliant sendoff for the comedy, partially because it forces the audience to recall that Robbie’s Barbie said earlier in the film that she (like real dolls) does not have a vagina. But more than recalling one of the naughtier jokes every kid will one day make about their toys, the last line also gets to the core idea of Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s script: This is a story about how gendered female interests, activities, or even genitals are segregated, othered, and ultimately subjugated by a patriarchal system. Barbie, in turn, is a character and brand who must become honest and aware of that.

Thus the last line of the film is about Barbie, as both a character and a film, reclaiming autonomy over the female body—an action that is depressingly still challenged in certain parts of this country, including its courts. This is why Barbie’s mic drop has been celebrated in publications and think pieces for months. However, as star Robbie confirmed in a new profile interview with Variety about her role as a producer on films like Barbie and Saltburn, the line didn’t always have unanimous enthusiasm, even at Mattel, the toy company which owns the Barbie intellectual property.

“The gynecologist line is always the one that I’m waiting for people’s reaction because it takes a second,” Robbie said. “Like, you hear it and then your brain catches up and understands: ‘Oh, she has a vagina now.’”

But when asked if anyone at Mattel specifically objected to that final joke, Robbie carefully parsed the reactions by saying: “There’s not one voice at the studio and one voice at Mattel. So some people are like, ‘It’s brilliant, let’s do it,’ and other people are like, ‘I’m terrified. What if kids are screaming the word ‘Gynecologist!’ and asking their parents what that means.’ And I was like, ‘The could be the best thing to come out of this, is little kids asking what a gynecologist is and learning that early on.’ That’s really our gift to the world.”

Robbie is of course not wrong. Whether it be Supreme Court rulings or Hollywood entertainments, many aspects of everyday life for women are treated with skepticism if not outright dread by the Kens of the world. Remember the time Joey and Chandler were grossed out by breastfeeding on Friends? Or how about all the alleged body horror jokes about watching a woman give birth in 2007’s Knocked Up? The constant refrain in our culture, whether in the halls of power or just the background noise of a television set, is that women’s bodies should either not be discussed or valued, or at the very least treated with an air of nausea.

In an interview with USA Today, Gerwig even recalled growing up and feeling “embarrassed about my body, and just feeling ashamed in a way that I couldn’t even describe.”

The final line of Barbie is an irreverent punchline that calls back to the naughtiest gag in an otherwise PG-13 comedy for the whole family. However, it also will hopefully help instill in young girls of tomorrow a more positive and natural understanding of their own anatomy. That’s nothing to be scared of.

Barbie is streaming on Max right now.

The post Margot Robbie Reveals the Barbie Line That ‘Terrified’ Mattel appeared first on Den of Geek.

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