46. The Barbie Movie and Boundary Foundations

Barbie and boundary foundations

In recent weeks, the new Barbie movie has taken center stage. Mary Brown and her sister, Chime, engage in a conversation about the fundamental concepts of boundaries and provide examples from the film.

The two delve into the themes of self-confidence and self-worth that are prominently depicted throughout the Barbie movie. Mary and Chime deliver a powerful reminder that our value remains constant and unchanging. This important realization is also reached by Barbie herself as the storyline unfolds. Join in as they share their thoughts on this widely acclaimed movie, Barbie.


Main Episode Takeaways

  • To start to overcome people pleasing we have to accept discomfort
  • Your value never changes
  • Differences in self-worth and self-confidence

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46. The Barbie Movie and Boundary Foundations

Mary: Let’s talk boundaries. I’m here with Chime and we are discussing boundaries and the Barbie movie. Hey, chimey. 

Chime: Hey sister. 

Mary: Did you see the Barbie movie? 

Chime: Yeah, I did. It was so good. Took my daughter to see it. She loved all the pink and the fun parts of the Barbie movie.

Mary: Yeah. So we went and saw moms and daughters at the drive-in. It was so fun. 

Chime: Mm-hmm. it’s a fun movie. 

Mary: It is. What’d you like about it? 

Chime: So I really, okay, so the Barbie movie starts in Barbie land, which is this pretend land where Barbie rule the world and there’s this really amazing sisterhood and everyone is accomplished and they feel great about their accomplishments and everyone respects each other and. It’s this utopic Barbie land. I mean, it’s not my utopia, but 

Mary: Definitely not my utopia, 

Chime: But it’s for the Barbies. So Barbie’s just living our best life there. Every day is the best day ever in Barbie land, 

Mary: except maybe the weird Barbie. 

Chime: She’s my favorite. I wanna be the weird Barbie. 

Mary: I like her too, but I’m not sure it was her best life.

Chime: Oh, maybe not. But I liked it. I wanna be the weird Barbie. Mm-hmm. So, anyway, she gets flat feet and she is gotta go discover in the real world how to fix her flat foot problem. Mm. Because heaven forbid she gets flat feet and cellulite.

Mary: Mm-hmm. And she’s starts thinking about things like death.

Chime: Yeah. 

Mary: That’s not part of Barbie world. 

Chime: So she visits weird Barbie. weird Barbie sends her on this journey to real life. And her and Ken go, they learn about patriarchy and misogyny but she also learns amazing things in the real world. She learns that people are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. She learns what it’s like to feel and be happy and sad and to cry. She comes back to babie land and all of the real world follows her there. She has a crisis that it’s not the same Barbie land that she left. 

Mary: Yes. 

Chime: So now it’s Kendom and the Kens have taken over and the it’s like they brought patriarchy and like put a spell on all the Barbies and now patriarchy has taken over Barbie land. And she has like this whole crisis about it. And there’s this amazing scene where they talk about what it’s like to be a woman, and in that, it’s just a whole monologue of shoulds for women in the real world, right? You should be thin, but no, you should be healthy. You should love being a mom, but you shouldn’t talk about it. And you should. And you should. And you should, and you should. And then the best thing happens barbie just owns her self worth and she goes to this journey to find her self worth and it’s great. 

Mary: Yes, yes. Let’s talk more about that. I love that. Okay, so the scene of the monologue. I would love to unpack that. Maybe for folks who haven’t heard it, I’ll just read it out. So this is America Ferrera monologue and she plays a character that is a mom and she has a teenage daughter, her tween age daughter. And she loved Barbie. Right? And she’s also kind of realizing what it has been like to be a woman. And I wanna share a little bit of that. So she says “you have to be thin, but not too thin. You can never say you want to be thin, you have to say you wanna be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman, but also always looking out for other people. You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to be stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be part of the sisterhood. But always stand out and always be grateful. Never forget the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that, but always be grateful. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line.” So when she talks about never get out of line I think she’s talking about kind of the expectations of the world, right? The boundaries that we feel other people are kind of imposing upon us, and that’s all the shoulds, right? What we should and shouldn’t do as women. Yeah, yeah. 

Chime: And I think the shoulds, I mean, these are women shoulds, but I think that there’s certainly shoulds in the world for men as well. 

Mary: Absolutely

Chime: There’s people pleasing that is expected for men as well as women. I think this movie just focuses on women.

Mary: Absolutely. Absolutely. And following this monologue, my favorite part is a couple sentences down where she says, “I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.”

Chime: We don’t know either, except we do. 

Mary: Maybe we know something. So this idea that we are tying ourselves into knots so that other people will like us, 

Chime: that’s a lot. That’s the people pleasing idea. It’s shoulding all over ourselves.

Mary: It’s shoulding all over ourselves. It’s people pleasing idea. It’s doing all the things that we think we’re supposed to do to live up to everybody’s expectations so that they’ll like us and that my friends, is what’s got to 

Chime: go. Yeah. Yeah. It is. What’s got to go. 

Mary: It’s got to go. 

Chime: And in the movie, They hear this monologue and then they just snap out of it, you know? Mm-hmm. Which is beautiful fantasy because it does take a little bit more work and practice. You gotta work at it to get over it, but it, that is the real life part is that we don’t have to people please, we don’t have to should on ourselves. Yeah. I think the part of that scene that was just before that was really interesting to me. And that was where Barbie’s character is saying I’m not pretty anymore, which is ridiculous, and she also talks about how I’m not president. I’ve never flown a plane. I’ve never written a book. I’ve never been a Pulter prize winner, which are all things that these Barbies have in Barbie land, and how she has to earn her worth. You know, she has to be something extraordinary in order to be interesting, in order to be significant and that’s just not true. She is amazing and has enormous self-worth just as Barbie and nothing more like she doesn’t have to be more.

Mary: Yes, and I believe that that has a lot of parallels with the work that we do in regards to boundaries because the foundation of boundary work all comes down to self-esteem, right? And self esteem’s got those two parts. The first one being self-worth, which is just given to us. We don’t have to earn, never changes. And then, Self-confidence, which self-confidence we do build over time as we accomplish lots of things in our lives. But what I see and when I start working with people around boundaries is that we have to lay the foundation really for self-esteem and self-worth. Before we can decide what boundaries we wanna set. 

Chime: Yeah. And it was a really interesting take on watching, you know, in this fantasy world, how someone who has all of this self-worth and self-confidence and self-esteem lose it and then gain it back. Then at the end, she did follow through with her boundaries of what was important to her. She didn’t love Ken. She didn’t wanna be with Ken. She wanted a Barbie house back, and she came towards him from a place of love to be like, Hey, I think you’re great, Ken, and you’re great on your own, and we don’t have to be together.

Mary: Absolutely. Absolutely. One of the things that I took from the movie was this idea of realizing that we can be human. Right? And part of being human is that it’s okay to be ordinary sometimes. They talk about you could be a mom, you could be the president, you could be the president and a mom, but any of those will be okay. Right? So like whatever it is that you wanna do, whatever it is that you wanna be, whoever it is that you discover yourself to be, that all of those things are okay.

Chime: Mm-hmm. Like you are amazing without a million accomplishments, without blonde hair and being five foot 11 and high heel feet, like all of that is still amazing. 

Mary: Yes, absolutely. That you’re born inherently valuable. Mm-hmm. Because you’re a human, you’re already valuable, so you can stop hustling for your worth because you are already valuable. 

Chime: Mm-hmm. I think it was a parallel in the movie that I really liked watching Barbie self-discovery and the mom self-discovery in the movie. You know, the mom was feeling low about herself. She was drawing these, you know, Barbie characters. And Barbie goes to find her, and then she has her own self-discovery. You know, she felt like, she didn’t have an amazing career and she was just a mom and very ordinary. And then at the end she’s like, well, maybe there could be be an ordinary Barbie. And that would be amazing too. Like I am amazing just as I am, which I thought was really fun. 

Mary: Yes. I love that. I love that. Mm-hmm. Okay one last part that I wanted to touch on is when Ruth, who represents the kind of grandmotherly figure who created Barbie. At the very end they have this kind of very heartfelt conversation and one of the things she says that stuck out to me was, that being human can be pretty uncomfortable. And I see that too in a lot of work with women who are learning boundaries that we have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. And one of the ways that we overcome people pleasing is by getting comfortable with other people being uncomfortable.

Chime: Yeah. And I think that just is practice. You have to practice being uncomfortable.

Mary: Yeah. And busting this myth that like it’s my job to make other people happy or if the people around me aren’t happy, then I’m doing something wrong or that we should be happy all the time or even most of the time. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. 

Chime: All right. Well, I loved this movie. I loved the, you know, how the full circle that Barbie took in the movie. It was fun to watch. 

Mary: Yes. Awesome. All right, listeners, my message for you today is that you’re already valuable. Stop hustling for your worth. No more people pleasing. That your value never changes. You don’t have to earn it. It just is. Take care.