SJNY’s Long Island Campus hosted a “Barbie Symposium” last month, during which panelists from the English and philosophy departments discussed one of this past summer’s most talked about and biggest blockbuster movies, “Barbie.”
The Oct. 26 symposium began with showcasing the “Barbie” movie trailer, then shifted to an analysis of the film.
Philosophy professor Wendy Turgeon, Ph.D., said, “This is the movie that got me back in the movie theater. I think it’s a fascinating movie.. it has some self-referential moments… how this film acknowledges it’s a film.”
Turgeon spoke of Barbie and Ken landing in Venice Beach during the movie, and how the moment is an accurate representation of how men and women feel in today’s society — with Ken enjoying and soaking up the attention, while Barbie felt almost violated.
“I disagree with the guys that say this is anti-male,” Turgeon said.
Panelist Peter Mascuch, Ph.D., an English professor at the Long Island Campus, developed the idea to hold symposium on the “Barbie” movie. together with students Victoria Harrison, Katie Mele, and Pileigh Shahinian, and Turgeon and Stephanie Reese, an English instructor at the Long Island Campus.
Reese stated that “the mystery and the hype of the movie is what brought people to the movie theater.”
Film production was initially announced in 2019, before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. A teaser preview followed in April 2022, and then another teaser in December 2022.
Excellent marketing is what brought people to the theaters, Reese noted.
Pileigh Shahinan, a senior English major spoke about how Barbie no longer wants to be the idea anymore and she wants to do the imagining. Shahinan said,“being a human can often be uncomfortable and life is temporary. Barbie can live forever.” She continued: “Women can do whatever they want to do with their lives, instead of what society tells them.”
The writer Madison Hodge is a Journalism and New Media Studies Major at SJNY.