Shakira’s Sons Thought ‘Barbie’ Was ‘Emasculating,’ and She Kinda Agrees

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Shakira performing a concert in Times Square in New York City on March 26, 2024. - Credit: Jason Howard/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Shakira performing a concert in Times Square in New York City on March 26, 2024. - Credit: Jason Howard/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Shakira shared her belated Barbie take in a new interview with Allure, saying she agreed “to a certain extent” with her two sons, who found the movie “emasculating.”

The musician was asked about Greta Gerwig’s hit film during a discussion about women’s empowerment and her hope that her upcoming album, Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran (Women No Longer Cry) would “help women discover their own strengths.” While that’s arguably kind of the whole point of Barbie, Shakira said her sons “absolutely hated the movie,” adding, “They felt that it was emasculating. And I agree, to a certain extent.”

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She continued: “I’m raising two boys. I want ’em to feel powerful too [while] respecting women. I like pop culture when it attempts to empower women without robbing men of their possibility to be men, to also protect and provide. I believe in giving women all the tools and the trust that we can do it all without losing our essence, without losing our femininity. I think that men have a purpose in society and women have another purpose as well. We complement each other, and that complement should not be lost.”

Shakira went on to say that she believed men and women should “share the load with people who deserve to carry it, who have a duty to carry it as well.”

Barbie faced a whole lot of similar criticism during its blockbuster run last summer — though those critiques frequently came from figures on the far-right. For instance, Matt Walsh called the movie “anti-man, feminist propaganda,” while Ben Shapiro’s video “review” featured him setting a bunch of Barbie and Ken dolls on fire.

As for Gerwig, the filmmaker certainly didn’t deny the film had a feminist bent, but as she explained in an interview with Rolling Stone, her goal was ultimately to make a “humanist” movie that examined the way “any kind of hierarchical power structure that moves in any direction isn’t so great.”

She continued: “You go to Mattel and it is really like, ‘Oh, Barbie has been president since 1991. Barbie had gone to the moon before women could get credit cards.’ We kind of extrapolated out from that Barbieland is this reversed world [where Barbies rule and Kens are an underclass]. The reverse structure of whatever Barbieland is, is almost like Planet of the Apes. You can see how unfair this is for the Kens because it’s totally unsustainable.”

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