Far-right and anti-LGBTQ+ Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro has seen Barbie, and he did not care for it.
Over the weekend, he posted a 43-minute “review” of the film on YouTube, in which he expressed his outrage by setting fire to his dolls in protest.
One male rightwing pundit said that the movie should have stuck to what made Barbie successful: “childbearing” and “homemaking.”
Director Greta Gerwig’s odd mix of feminist social satire and corporate branding landed in theaters late last week, topping the weekend box office charts in the biggest film debut of 2023, according to Variety.
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But the highly anticipated film based on Mattel’s iconic dolls sparked conservative backlash well before it opened, with right-wing commentators blasting the film for its critique of gender expectations and its inclusion of transgender actor Hari Nef in the role of “Doctor Barbie.”
On Friday, Shapiro, who previously whined about comments out star Kate McKinnon made about the film’s critique of gender roles, tweeted that his producers had “dragged” him to see Barbie and promised a review of the film, which he called “one of the most woke movies I have ever seen” and a “flaming garbage heap.” That “review” went live over the weekend and opens with the 39-year-old Shapiro tossing his Barbie and Ken dolls into a trashcan and setting them on fire.
The very worked-up Shapiro then proceeds to spend 43 minutes ranting about the film, whining that he wasted “two hours of my precious time, two hours I will never get back” watching Barbie. His problems with the film range from his bafflement at who its target audience might be to its critique of the patriarchy.
“Greta Gerwig is a lady. She’s making a good living off of this. Margot Robbie is playing the lead. In fact, the entire cast aside from basically Ryan Gosling is women, so it seems like women are doing OK,” Shapiro argues.
He also snidely notes Nef’s role in the film. “One of the Barbies is a trans Barbie. And this is true! Totally normal, as if this is a female Barbie—with a voice deeper than my own,” Shapiro claims, despite the fact that the character’s identity as trans or cis is never addressed in the film.
Nothing in this satirical comedy about a plastic doll who lives in a magical dream world “makes sense” according to Shapiro, a “point” he returns to over and over while dissecting nearly every plot point in the two-hour film, on which he apparently took “pages and pages of notes.”
Shapiro’s absurd rant has drawn plenty of ridicule online. Even before he posted his review, folks on Twitter were laughing at Shapiro for apparently inadvertently dressing exactly like Gosling’s Ken to see the film. Others mocked Shapiro for going to see Barbie just so that he could have a complete meltdown about it.
Still others managed to calculate how much Shapiro may have spent on his Barbie dolls just to flambé them.
Several even compared Shapiro to Sid, the sadistic bully in Toy Story.
On MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan Show, the host blasted Shapiro and other conservatives for spending so much thought and energy on Barbie rather than actual policy.
“These are grown men losing their minds over a movie about a doll,” Hasan said. “What has happened to the conservative movement? There was a time when conservatives had substantive things to say about taxes, regulation, defense, and foreign policy. Now it’s Barbie, Dr. Seuss that, Bud Light, Mr. Potato Head. The skin color of the Little Mermaid. It’s ridiculous. It is childish. It is pretty pathetic, actually. Is it not?”
But perhaps the most cutting critique of Shapiro came from this seven-year-old girl and her father, comedian Jay Black: