The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

Koy’s Comments Are Why We Need “Barbie”

Koy%E2%80%99s+Comments+Are+Why+We+Need+%E2%80%9CBarbie%E2%80%9D

“Barbie” is a movie about empowerment, identity, and the debilitating effects of gender stereotypes. It is a movie that inspired young girls, tugged at the heartstrings of seasoned moms, and opened the eyes of well-meaning men. 

The masterpiece was the highest grossing film of 2023, earning $1.4 million in the box office, and received ten nominations at the Golden Globes. With a film so successful, one might think this movie would be the one that finally made people listen. Yet, “Barbie” was simply used as another source of fuel for men to mock women. 

Shocking.

At the beginning of the 81st annual Golden Globes, comedian Jo Koy rambled through a dialogue poking fun at actors and directors. All was well, if not slightly awkward, until Koy quipped that “’Oppenheimer’ is based on a 721-page Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project, and ‘Barbie’ is on a plastic doll with big boobies…The key moment in Barbie is when she goes from perfect beauty to bad breath, cellulite, and flat feet. Or what casting directors call character actor!”

Koy’s joke was greeted with uncomfortable laughter and even more uncomfortable silence. Selena Gomez glared at him. Ryan Gosling, who played Ken, looked murderous. Greta Gerwig, the director who poured her heart and soul into the masterpiece, simply shook her head. She was not surprised. This behavior was expected. 

The comedian later backtracked his statement, sensing the tension in the room. He rambled about having little time to prepare, and how the jokes he wrote were “the ones [the audience] was laughing at.” 

But the damage was done. Women were being objectified and ignored. Again

Of course this was going to happen. The entire movie was written as a commentary on how women are seen as redundant in society, or as one of the characters put it, as a “man with no power.” Women try to prove their worth over and over again, only to be greeted with comments about our life choices, our failures, and our bodies that never seem to be good enough. 

Now that “Barbie” enjoyers everywhere are in an uproar over Koy’s comments, the Kens of the world are using their outrage to prove the stereotype that women can’t take a joke. No matter what, we can’t win.

What should we do? Do we sit down and take the insults, proving to the world that we aren’t over-emotional and can appreciate humor? Or do we stand up for ourselves and embrace the incessant criticism about being loud and dramatic? This is the exact crisis Barbie dealt with in the movie, and the exact crisis women deal with every day outside of Barbie Land. 

It is shocking how easily the point of the movie went over the heads of some people. Many men were in absolute outrage over how the male gender was perceived in “Barbie,” which again, is the entire point, as the fictional men had the exact role in society that women have in real life. 

“Barbie” is simply being used as another source of fuel for men to mock women. Shocking.

Other jokes could have been made. Comedian Jim Gaffigan’s monologue during the ceremony–where he said, “For 80 years, good looking people threw a party. And then you guys finally decided to invite the talented people,”–had people in tears. Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig’s dance lightened the mood and entertained the crowd perfectly. It’s fully possible to make a joke without putting down women, and it is inconceivable how half of society has not seemed to figure that out yet. 

Barbie said it herself: the world is “totally and irrevocably messed up.” There’s nothing we can do to stop Kens like Koy from invalidating the experiences of women nor his fan base turning our story into yet another thing we are doing wrong. 

If a $1.4 billion movie can’t provide insight into the experience of a woman, how much more will respect cost?

About the Contributor
Addy Cowley, Editor-in-Chief
Addy Cowley is a senior and the "Bulldog Tribune"’s EIC, the president for Cards4Cause, and the secretary of Key Club. She grew up in four countries, where she acquired an obsession for travel and adventure. This past summer, she participated in the Washington Journalism and Media Conference, where she attended seminars preparing her this year. Addy loves to read historical nonfiction, rock climb, paint, and hang out with friends, and can often be found procrastinating on schoolwork or working at her favorite climbing gym.