Barbie Movie Ending Explained – What The Villain Twist & Barbie’s Decision Mean
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Barbie Movie Ending Explained – What The Villain Twist & Barbie’s Decision Mean

Warning: This post contains major spoilers for BarbieDirected by Greta Gerwig, who co-wrote the screenplay with Noah Baumbach, Barbie follows the titular doll as she ventures from Barbieland into the real world. Created by Mattel, the Barbie movie marries real-world problems with fantasy and satire, sending both Barbie and Ken on personal journeys that change them irrevocably.



Barbie ends with Barbie, Gloria, and her daughter Sasha, joining forces with the brainwashed Barbies to take back Barbieland. After the Kens turned on each other, the Barbies voted not to change the constitution, booting Kendom and rejuvenating Barbieland — with a few changes, including some of the Kens serving in the lower courts. Margot Robbie’s Barbie tells Ryan Gosling’s Ken, who has an existential crisis, that he needs to figure out who he is without her. Meanwhile, Barbie herself is unsure about what’s next, or how her story ends. She doesn’t think she can be Stereotypical Barbie anymore, and with wisdom from creator Ruth Handler, Barbie decides to become human.

Related: Barbie’s New Post-Credits Scene Explained

Barbie Decides To Become Human – Even If That Means She’ll Die

Margot Robbie as Barbie in the Barbie movie.

Barbie makes a big decision at the end of the film. Rather than remaining in Barbieland — where she is perfect, and every day is a great day — Barbie chooses to permanently become human. Stereotypical Barbie is fully aware of what the decision entails: Living as a human means that she will eventually die. Yet Barbie takes her chances; she would rather live a life full of meaning, and in which she puts something meaning into the world, than to live forever as an idea. Being in the real world made Barbie unsure about herself and her perfect life.

She was feeling so many emotions, wading through existential crises, and memories — happy and sad — that made her want to learn and experience more than what Barbieland could offer. Barbie was stunned by what the real world had in store. It was far from perfect, but that didn’t mean Barbie couldn’t try to make it better in her own way, just as she had with Barbieland. Barbie wanted to truly explore what it meant to be imperfect, to grapple with the good and the bad that came with being human. She felt she could do more good in the real world, and perhaps figure out her own ending.

Ken’s Villain Era – Why He Finally Dumps The Patriarchy

ken barbie movie

Ken became the villain of Barbie. As he ventured into the real world, he learned about patriarchy and embraced it, bringing it back to Barbieland. His plans for Kendom failed, but Barbie helped him realize it was okay to be vulnerable, to be lost and emotional. Ken, like Barbie, was faced with an existential crisis, but he was ill-equipped to handle it throughout the movie. It was only when he was told that he could simply exist as Ken, without having to be tied to Barbie, that he was able to shed the toxicity of his behavior. Patriarchal ideas weren’t solving his problems, and he had to leave them behind.

Barbieland’s Future Explained – What’s Next For The Barbies & Kens

A group of Barbie's celebrating

With the Barbies successfully restoring Barbieland from the takeover that was dubbed Kendom, things were, more or less, back to normal for the dolls. However, they’d all been through too much, having experienced the effects of patriarchy, identity crises, and the revelation of the real world and its problems. Ken will likely explore who he is without Barbie, and that might pave the way for a more self-confident, but not toxic, version of the character. The rest of the Kens will follow suit, especially since they didn’t really want to fight, but hang out at the beach with the Barbies.

The Barbies, meanwhile, became more inclusive, even allowing Weird Barbie to join them rather than continue living in alienation. The Barbies also allowed some of the Kens to join them in the courts, though in a smaller capacity, which marked a big change for Barbieland. Crucially, the Barbies and Kens understand each other a lot better by the end of the Barbie movie.The changes (though small) enacted, and the understanding gained from Stereotypical Barbie’s realizations could steer the rest of Barbieland’s residents towards self-exploration.

Why Ruth Handler Created Barbie To Not Have An Ending

Margot Robbie as Barbie in her car in the Barbie movie.

Ruth Handler was behind the creation of the Barbie doll, having named the famous Mattel toy after her daughter, Barbara Handler. While Stereotypical Barbie no longer knows her ending, Ruth says she created Barbie to not have an ending at all. The Barbie doll is an idea that lives forever. Barbie is a symbol, one that has influenced generations of girls. She was made — with meaning heaped upon her, be it by Mattel or by consumers — and remade, reimagined or slightly altered to keep up with the times. Barbie cannot be killed; she remains the image of perfection no matter what, a lasting icon — for better or worse.

The Deeper Meaning Behind Mr. Mattel Putting Barbie In A Box

Barbie Teaser Trailer With Gigantic Barbie

When Barbie approaches Mattel’s board, they quickly try to put her back into her box. The image is quite literal, but the box itself is also an example of Mr. Mattel and co. trying to hinder Barbie’s potential, stifling her goals. In the box, they can control her actions; she can forever be a perfect doll, wrapped in plastic packaging. Additionally, the box is also tied to author Marcel Proust. As soon as Barbie steps into the box she makes a comment about Proustian memory, triggered by the smell of the box. The box itself is a representation of something from the past, and Barbie is coming into the present.

The Reason Allan, Pregnant Midge, Growing Up Skipper Were Discontinued

Michael Cera as Allan standing on the beach in Barbie

While there are several versions of Ken, there is only one version of Allan. Introduced in 1964, Allan was marketed as Midge’s boyfriend and a buddy of Ken’s. While he reappeared during big moments decades later — as Midge’s groom and then as a father to their children — Allan was discontinued in the mid 60s, likely because there wasn’t much interest in him. When he was discontinued again in the early aughts, it was because he was sold alongside the Pregnant Midge doll, which was pulled from Walmart shelves due to complaints that it promoted teen pregnancy.

Another version of Pregnant Midge was released, this time with her already having had her baby. But the damage was done, and both Midge and Allan were discontinued after that. Midge reappeared again a decade later in the animated series Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, this time sans kids or Allan. Growing Up Skipper, meanwhile, was discontinued due to controversy. Just as Barbie suggests, the doll became taller and developed breasts when her left arm was rotated, signifying Skipper becoming a teenager. That didn’t go over well with many, and Growing Up Skipper was removed from the Barbie lineup in 1977.

The Real Meaning Of Barbie’s Ending

barbie ken

Barbie deals in gender politics, but at its heart it’s about being willing to look inward, exploring one’s identity beyond what’s been assigned by society, and fight for change, even if it’s scary. It’s no surprise that both Barbie and Ken have an identity crisis. Though the characters deal with it differently, Barbie and Ken are lost when faced with a new reality and can no longer define themselves as easily as they once did. They also can’t go back to the way things were now that they’ve been enlightened, and they must both do the work it takes to grow as people.

Barbie’s ending showcases the ways that patriarchy is harmful to both women and men. The Barbies felt the weight of it in Kendom, where their behavior was described as brainwashing, and they were stripped of their power, voices, and autonomy. While the Kens had power and exhibited toxic behavior, Ken’s emotional breakdown and existential crisis broke free of the patriarchal ideas that men shouldn’t show emotion or explore their identities. Ken was trying to control the Barbies and make their lives miserable when he should’ve been practicing self-reflection. What’s more, Barbie not knowing who she is anymore showcases that it’s alright to be confused and imperfect.