Well, it seems that conservative lawmakers are convinced that Hollywood is using the movie to push Chinese propaganda onto the American audience. They claim that there are subliminal messages about international maritime disputes, all hidden in a movie about dolls!
The controversy centers around a cartoon map in the movie, which some Senators like Marsha Blackburn and Ted Cruz say resembles China’s “nine-dash line” used to assert control over the South China Sea. They argue that this inclusion in the film somehow legitimizes China’s position and gives them more power over crucial waters.
But, let’s be clear, the map is highly stylized and deliberately inaccurate, with even England shown as bordering Asia, complete with a crown on top. The studio, Warner Bros, responded by saying that the doodles depict Barbie’s fictional journey from Barbie Land to the “real world.”
In reality, this whole Barbie scandal is as manufactured as the dolls themselves. It’s just the latest example of conservatives inventing culture wars because they can’t win over voters with their unpopular policies.
Though their claims may seem ridiculous, we can’t simply ignore them. Sometimes these baseless controversies can lead to real harm. Just look at how the GOP has targeted transgender people, spreading lies about using bathrooms or playing sports according to their gender identity, resulting in harmful policies that affect real people’s lives.
And the right’s obsession with fabricating culture war issues goes beyond territorial seas. They also criticize Barbie for not promoting their ideas of faith and family. Even when Mattel released a doll inspired by Laverne Cox, conservatives attacked it, calling it a “dangerous message” for kids.
Barbie, with her many careers, is often seen as a symbol of female empowerment. But Republicans seem determined to hold women back, blocking the Equal Rights Amendment, voting against the Violence Against Women Act, and limiting access to reproductive care.
Republicans’ efforts to undermine Barbie’s motto of “We girls can do anything” are far more concerning than any fantastical conspiracy theories they come up with. Instead of falling for their distractions, let’s focus on the real issues that matter and work towards progress for all aspiring Barbies across America.