10 Reasons to “Barbenheimer”

Unofficial satirical poster designed by English graphic artist Sean Longmore, commissioned by Layered Butter magazine.[Source: Wikipedia]

Groups of moviegoers are seeing both the Barbie movie and Oppenheimer, calling the occasion “Barbenheimer.” My adult daughters saw Barbie last weekend, my adult son saw Oppenheimer. My wife and I saw both. Here are ten things my adult son and daughters can learn if they swap and see the other movie this weekend, and so can you.

  1. My son can learn how patriarchy feels to women and begin to ask further questions. Patriarchy is the historic encoding of benefits for men over women in Unite States American and other cultures.

  2. My daughters can learn about how how science has been used to harm as well as to heal.

  3. My son can listen to the church’s explanation of patriarchy, whether hardened or softened, and wonder if a hierarchical patriarchy is consistent with what Jesus Christ taught and lived.

  4. My daughters can learn about the immense destruction that comes when self-absorbed men and women ignore moral impulses and give over their intelligence to governmental powers that will use it for its own ends.

  5. My son can contemplate his own patriarchy in teaching the next generation and raising a son.

  6. My son and daughters can follow their parents example of investigating more deeply than the political and religious: activist and scholar bell hooks, for example, explained again and again that feminism is not about competing or being equal with men but being liberated from the systems of domination that both patriarchy and feminism may wrongly serve.

  7. My family and I can wonder about how science and technology are currently being used to harm others or give some benefits that others unfairly do not have.

  8. By watching both movies, my family can learn that it was systemic white male supremacy (patriarchy) that birthed both the dominating systems of genocide, slavery, and mass destruction and that same capitalistic white male supremacy that birthed Barbie and packaged femininity in a plastic box complete with “stereotypical” shapes.

  9. The question for families in these cultural moments is not so much, “Should we go see these movies or not?” or “Should we give our money to these movies or not?” but more a question of, “How are we influenced by the culture we live in to treat one another with goodness, fairness, and love?

  10. Finally, Ashley and Anna told me their brother and others should see Barbie because it shows how women are treated as less than or not as powerful, strong, or as smart as men. They said it’s interesting to see a world where women are in charge and men are sidekicks, which is the way many women feel. Ashley said, “it’s cool to see how even the most ‘perfect’ person (Barbie) doesn’t feel good enough but her friends and her creator encouraged her to become an imperfect human with flaws.”