Multiple female influencers in right-wing media have expressed their fondness for the Barbie movie, despite moralizing from some of their peers.
Over the last few weeks, various conservative commentators (mostly men) have condemned the movie for including a transgender actor among its cast of Barbies and pushing “feminist propaganda.” Ben Shapiro took his experience at the theater particularly hard, complaining the movie was “two hours I will never get back” and that it “took years off my life.” He claimed that the film was popular among critics only because it was “a bunch of warmed-over Gloria Steinem nonsense.”
Meanwhile, the film is on its way to making more than $1 billion, making it a massive hit among its target audience. That audience presumably includes The Daily Wire’s Brett Cooper, who took to her YouTube account to share her glowing review.
“I have some terrible news specifically for Ben Shapiro,” she said, adding later, “I had a great time watching it.”
“It’s a fun, silly movie about a toy,” Cooper declared.
In a devastating moment of almost but not quite getting it, Cooper begged her audience (and presumably her boss): “Not all female empowerment is bad. I know that we criticize feminism. I know that we criticize toxic femininity for valid reasons. But do not allow your hatred of those ideas and those cultural movements to make you angry about anything that uplifts a woman.”
The next day, Cooper appeared on Shapiro’s podcast, where he lectured her and proposed an alternative plot for the movie in which it ends more like Disney’s Enchanted.
Turning Point USA’s sparkly pop culture guru Alex Clark also expressed her love for the movie on Instagram and Twitter.
Ever the talented influencer, Clark integrated her brief review of Barbie into an Instagram reel inviting her audience to “spend a weekend with me and my friends in Scottsdale.” During the weekend she saw the movie, which she “absolutely loved,” boldly labeling “any conservative saying it’s woke” as a “moron.” She also promised a forthcoming full review of the film.
Clark also posted that “conservatives are starting to slip back into being the fun police” with their objections to Barbie.
Like Cooper and Shapiro, Clark’s boss Charlie Kirk was also offended by the movie. On June 30, the Turning Point USA founder called the movie “trans propaganda that is in this hyper-feminine, ultra pink propaganda thing, but it’s really been taken over by the trans mafia,” later adding that the trailer was “the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen” and floating a boycott.
Tomi Lahren of the Fox Corp.-owned sports outlet Outkick also went to bat for Barbie. In a video titled “The Conservative Outrage For the Barbie Movie is a Little Much,” Lahren claimed that making the Ken character “a little soft and a little oblivious” is not a feminist take but a reflection of the young men of today's society.
“I’m all for fighting the culture war and for pushing back on some of the wokeness displayed in popular culture, but the faux outrage over this movie is not a good look and also kind of annoying,” she said. She added that the men offended by Barbie should also be protesting “woke” professional sports.
Anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer has posted an extraordinary number of tweets defending Barbie from conservative backlash. “The Barbie movie has a conservative message,” she wrote in one. In another, quote-tweeting a video of Ben Shapiro burning dolls, she said, “This is so stupid. First of all, Barbie isn’t woke. It’s a mockery of woke."
Former Turning Point USA ambassador Ashley St. Clair, who currently works at the conservative “satire” website The Babylon Bee, tweeted that “Barbie is the first movie I’ve seen that explicitly tells women it’s ok to just be a mom for a career” and demanded, “Any men who give their money or attention to the woke NFL aren’t allowed to tell women to boycott Barbie.”
Pharmaceutical heir and PragerU director of development Annabella Rockwell posted a pinked-out Instagram slideshow in which she claimed the “true message of barbie” was about bringing women and families together, which she found “encouraging, uplifting, and sweet.” She said, “Barbie is about friendship and family, and calls out feminist hypocrisy!”
But more broadly, audiences in conservative areas are supporting Barbie. On July 24, Fox News ran a segment on a map showing Barbie is “trending more” than Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer among Southern states. (The segment did not mention what metric is used to determine what is “trending” or how this data was collected.)
This confounded the panel. Anchor Bill Hemmer asked, “Barbie is like, really big in the red states. And Oppenheimer is really big in the blue states. What’s going on?”