The Ideal Woman?

Barbie, the phenomenon! No other woman is as famous. No other woman is as old, while being at the same time ageless. And no other woman is as admired, criticized, adored, and hated – right up to the present day. The invention of Ruth Handler, a shrewd businesswoman, this ‘doll’ has all of the ingredients of a thrilling life. Barbie was and remains a mirror of her time. She is trendy and progressive, a was a feminist from the very start – although her appearance might suggest otherwise. But then whoever said a blonde with a wasp waist and a pronounced fondness for pink can’t be a feminist? There was no ‘man’s job’ she failed to master with flying colors. No house is too large for her, no car drives too fast. Meanwhile, a candid sexual identity is among the key parameters of her self-image. Barbie was and remains open to change, and the “World of Barbie” remains multifaceted. In 2024, Barbie will be 65 years old. As early as July of 2023, she will be honored by a major Hollywood production, and even now, the “World of Barbie” looks forward to the date with keen anticipation. The main roles, of course, have been taken by big stars: super blonde Margot Robbie as Barbie, Ryan Gosling as a newly bleach-blonde Ken. The director is Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird and Little Women). The production has catapulted the pop and fashion worlds into a new Barbie fever. Pink has come to dominate the catwalks once again, and in the digital worlds, Barbie has long since created her own reality. With 2.1 million followers on Instagram, she is a successful influencer, and her confinement to the children’s playroom has long since been a thing of the past. The documentary immerses viewers in the life story of the most celebrated doll in the world. It features Ruth Handler, her inventor, a dynamic businesswoman who possessed the flair necessary to create an adult doll together with her own unique lifestyle. Amidst all of the changes occurring today, can Barbie truly remain Barbie? Or will she decide, in the end, to do away with herself? Is Barbie’s life story a biography of shifting values?

Buch / Regie

Nicola Graef, Julia Zinke


52 min.

2022, SWR/arte