Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie, was the most inspirational blockbuster for me since Wonder Woman. There, I said it. 

Yes, I am a follower of Jesus. Yes, I believe in the beauty of marriage and the significance of motherhood. No, I don’t agree with every single aspect of the film. 

Borrowing a concept from Andy Crouch in his book Culture Making, as a Christian, it’s easy to arrogantly condemn culture, quickly copy culture, or mindlessly consume culture. But my hope here is to bring a dialogue around the issues the film attempts to address. If you want to see Barbie but are met with the thought that you might be “betraying your Christian faith,” I hope in sharing my perspective you can find freedom to check out the movie for yourself and draw your own conclusions.  

I am a stay-at-home mom and full-time missionary with FamilyLife. My husband, Moses, and I live in Brooklyn, New York, where we homeschool our five kids ranging in ages from 4 to 11, run a community-center outreach, and lead the Awana children’s ministry at our local church. Several times a year, my husband and I travel around the country as speakers with FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. 

From the outside, I may look like I fit the stereotype of some of Barbie’s biggest critics, but maybe that’s why the movie impacted me so much. 

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Welcome to Barbieland

Barbie opens with an ingenious parody of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Several school-aged girls are stranded in a barren, primordial landscape. Helen Mirren elegantly narrates the scene, explaining that since the beginning of time, little girls only had baby dolls to play with. As a result, they had no choice but to imagine themselves as mothers and nothing else. 

Then along comes the invention of Barbie, who, in her many variations, expands the little girls’ horizons, inspiring them to be astronauts, doctors, judges, and even president. In melodramatic fashion, the girls smash their baby dolls to pieces, heralding a new era of equality and opportunity. 

Enter Barbieland, where, at least in the perspective of the Barbies, all of women’s problems are now solved. 

The entire film follows two worlds that intersect and affect each other (similar to Pixar’s Inside Out). Following Helen Mirren’s dramatic intro, the audience is immediately immersed in the all-pink universe of Barbieland (the creation of which caused a shortage of pink paint). In the utopian world, every day is a “perfect day,” and women are in the highest forms of government and influence. While the “real world” is run by men, and women are an objectified afterthought. 

The rest of the film follows Stereotypical Barbie’s journey traveling between the two worlds. 

The set design was perfectly executed—complete with a Barbie Dreamhouse and giant waterslide. I loved the costumes paying homage to iterations of iconic Barbie varieties. However, the highlight of the movie for me was a monologue by Gloria (America Ferrera), a Mattel employee and mom of a preteen daughter (and if you’re on social media, you’ve likely seen it). When I attended opening weekend, you could have heard a pin drop during that scene. 

The main theme of Ferrera’s monologue was that as modern women, we have expectations hurled at us that are not only unrealistic but simultaneously contradictory. She says, “It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like, we have to be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.”

In other words, whatever our marital or socioeconomic status, we live in countless variations of a Catch-22. 

Follow your dream … but don’t forget the dishes

As a first-generation immigrant whose family hails from the Philippines, I’m told to follow my career and take advantage of all the opportunities here in America, but also … “Don’t forget to do all the housework.”

I have often felt the tension between my choice to find purpose in spending the bulk of my time at home while my kids are young, and what others think I should accomplish—as if I’m silently torturing myself by not relentlessly climbing the corporate ladder. I have personally experienced the discouraging effects of countless expectations hovering over me, which consistently make me feel like a failure on some level. 

So while some may see Barbie as just a movie about a doll and seemingly pointless, God used this movie to remind me of how often I am guilty of letting others dictate who I should be, instead of who I was created to be. 

I’ve learned the hard way that it is difficult to simultaneously do all these things well at any given time. The only thing I can do is be sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to discern what I am called to do moment by moment and be okay with different seasons of life, ministry, and career. 

In the midst of my confusion, this is what I am sure of:

1. God’s call for me to make plain biblical truths to others through my different communication gifts (writing, speaking, mentoring, etc.). 

2. God’s call for me to be a loving wife to Moses and a be-all-there mom to my kids.

Everything else is pretty much optional.  

Adapted from “A Barbie Movie Review,” originally published on Marilette Used with permission. Copyright © 2023 by Marilette Sanchez. All rights reserved.

Marilette Sanchez is a New Yorker passionate about finding the connections between God, relationships, and pop culture. She is wife to Moses, a homeschooling mom to five young children, and a full-time missionary with FamilyLife. She believes there is more to the Christian life than hypocrisy and more to pop culture than shallow art. College sweethearts and NYC natives, she and her husband, Moses, are FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® speakers known for their transparency and their ability to inject their love of hip hop and pop culture into their discussions of love, sex and marriage. She has recently co-founded an online apparel company to raise awareness for mental health issues in the church and communities of color. Follow her parenting and homeschooling journey on Instagram at @bigcitybigfamily and her musings on womanhood and pop culture at