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I Was Barbie’s Bestie

July 26, 2023

We don’t go to many movies in theaters these days. But there are some films that simply MUST be viewed on the big screen, like those blockbuster action/adventure flicks, all starring George Clooney, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Matrix-17 doesn’t pack quite the same punch at home as it does, sound jacked waaaaay up, while sitting in a soda-soaked cinema seat with a $20 small popcorn on your lap, right?

 But Barbie? We definitely could have watched that one later on, chez Seyfried. By last weekend’s opening, though, I’d read enough reviews and analysis of it to write a dissertation—I just HAD to be among the first to experience this movie! I was prepared to go solo, but to my surprise Stevo was game to join me.

For those of you who are planning to see Barbie (and I encourage this decision), or who just can’t read stand to read one more line about it at this time, I will spare you. No lengthy paragraphs on Ken and the patriarchy, or Barbie’s through-the-looking-glass journey into the Real World. Suffice it to say, we both loved it—for us, it hit every note. Different actors played each of the Barbies (Doctor Barbie, President Barbie, etc.—the Main Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, actually referred to herself as Stereotypical Barbie), and many were the Kens as well. HOWEVER…

 I was a bit sad to see Midge, Barbie’s BFF, get relatively short shrift. Because, as a child, I played with my Barbies a lot, but I WAS Midge. She wasn’t the tall blond beauty (nor was I) but instead the freckle-faced sidekick doll. I worked Midge into every playtime scenario, and thought she was wonderful. I gave her a heartwarming backstory, and a secret talent (novelist). Midge never stole Barb’s limelight, but was over in the corner, looking perky, scribbling away—yet always there when her friend was in need of rescue, or maybe just a sharpened pencil.

 Alas, Mattel wasn’t as wild about Midge as I was. At some point she disappeared from the stores, and, except for a brief, pretty horrific return as “Happy Family Midge” (she had a plastic baby in her tummy that COULD BE REMOVED!) my spunky, speckled friend was retired for good.

Looking back, how did it feel to identify with a minor supporting character? I really didn’t mind. Resigned in real life to being no one’s idea of a glamour girl, Midge had given me hope that I could still be part of the popular, pinker than pink scene.

 I have mixed emotions about Barbie—empowered and multi-careered as the doll’s character has become over the years, she’ll still impossibly pretty, and for the littlest girls, bewilderingly “developed.” But I applaud Greta Gerwig for making such a fun and thought-provoking movie.

For the inevitable sequel, I vote to feature a different doll. Let’s focus at last on that true-blue bestie who is, in her own freckly way, even somewhat attractive.

Let’s make Midge the star.

 
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    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: www.eliseseyfried.com or email me at eliseseyf@gmail.com.

     

     

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