In the Summer of ‘Barbie’ and ‘Renaissance,’ Will All Women Finally Get the Recognition They Deserve?

Currently, three women—Barbie, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift—seem to be running the world, or at least the economy judging by record-shattering tour and box office revenues. But, as in the case of Beyoncé and other female artists of color, this success does not translate to deserved recognition from prestigious institutions.  

“The message young women absorb is that unless you are a one-in-a-generation talent like Lauryn Hill or Whitney Houston, female artists of color can kiss goodbye any hope of wide-scale recognition by the Recording Academy.”

Barbie and My Midlife Crisis

This year has found me clinging to youth with more gusto than ever. One of my kids mused, “Why can’t you be like other middle-aged people?” I shrugged, but I guess it’s because I think you’re either young or old. And I know which one I’d choose. Then I saw Barbie.

Greta Gerwig’s film has been labeled a feminist triumph (or failure) and a manifesto against (or tool of) corporate capitalism, but for me, it’s all about my midlife crisis (or “transition” to be kind). In the film, Barbie finds herself having irrepressible thoughts of death—and before she knows it, her perfect body and her dream world start showing signs of Real World flaws. Outside of Barbieland, much of our collective panic about dwindling youth stems from a culture that glorifies being young while rendering older people—particularly women—invisible.

Why Barbie, Greta and You Should Invest in a Better World

Even when she’s got money to invest, a woman’s lack of knowledge often means she still entrusts her money decisions to men. Should she sell her diamonds and put them into bonds or real estate?

In the aftermath of Barbie, we must not discount the huge economic changes that have arisen for women since she was created in 1959. In the U.S., there’s a growing movement for wiser, more sustainable investing that better reflects women’s values. I’m hoping Greta Gerwig—whose film surpassed the $1 billion mark—will join.

Keeping Score: California Funds College for Foster Youth; Katie Ledecky Surpasses Michael Phelps in World Titles; Anti-Abortion Leader Arrested for Child Sex Abuse

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Sen. Tuberville blocks 250 military promotions (and counting) in protest of a DOD policy to help service members who travel for reproductive care; Freedom to Vote Act reintroduced in Congress; Texas governor bans public drag performances; Taylor Swift has most No. 1 albums of any woman artist; California budget agreement will fund public college tuition and expenses for foster youth in the state; Barbie opening weekend brings in more at box office than any other woman-directed film; Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky surpasses Michael Phelps in individual world golds; rest in power: Sinéad O’Connor, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Katie Early and Cheri Pies; and more.

What Boys and Men Can Learn from Ken

The Barbie movie reveals one of the patriarchy’s dirty little secrets: Not only does the patriarchy exclude and punish women; but it also harms men who don’t meet the very narrow definitions of ‘manhood’ that are most favored.

Millions of men have already seen the movie and enjoyed it immensely. This success is a testament to our ability to laugh at ourselves and some of the less attractive features of male-dominated cultures, without crying foul and embracing an unearned victim status.

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: How Inequality Affects Women in Film; What Barbie Can Teach Us About the Gender Wage Gap

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week: Movies like Barbie and Oppenheimer are impossible without actors and writers, and women are still getting paid less in the industry; Christopher Nolan’s film had the opportunity to mention critical women of the atomic age but failed; Emily’s List’s new Madam Mayor program will “serve as a critical touchpoint” for woman mayors to receive support; and more.

The ‘Barbie’ Movie: “More Swipes at ‘The Patriarchy’ Than a Year’s Worth of Ms. Magazine”

With opening weekend now in the rearview mirror (of her pink convertible), Barbie has raked in more than $200 million at the box office—smashing prior records for women-directed and summer blockbusters. Reviews have run the gamut. But it is the Wall Street Journal’s take, in particular, that caught our eye—and reviewer Kyle Smith’s quip that Barbie “contains more swipes at ‘the patriarchy’ than a year’s worth of Ms. magazine.”

To this, we at Ms. say: Hear, hear! We’ve been tackling feminist issues for five decades—including in our forthcoming book, 50 YEARS OF Ms.: THE BEST OF THE PATHFINDING MAGAZINE THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION. So we know firsthand the force behind this magazine and its vast community of readers.  

Girl Bond Summer: Taylor, Barbie and Power of Collective Joy

Girls are showing up, shaping popular culture for the better. Their choices tell us about friendship, connection, and how to forge joy in this world.

Of course, the power of girls as consumers and taste-makers isn’t new. And life remains pretty damn hard for young people. But when I see the Swifties in their ecstatic thrall, or the pink-clad Barbie hordes stampeding toward the theater, I think: We could all use a little more of that sincerity and exuberance in our lives.