If you spent your Sunday evening blissfully unaware of the Golden Globes, good for you. What’s it like being offline? Do you hear birds chirping? Feel the sun on your face? Get the fuck out of here! I, on the other hand, spent my time aggressively scrolling on the internet like a little pop culture gremlin, which is unfortunately why I heard the dumb joke about Barbie.
If at this point you’ve blocked out Jo Koy’s Golden Globes opening monologue like it was a bad dream (fair), I broke it down for you: “Oppenheimer is based on a 721-page Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project, and Barbie is on a plastic doll with big boobies.” Let’s stop here before I go on (because yes, there’s more to this trainwreck). Big boobies?! I’m sorry, last time I checked the calendar it’s 2024, not 2004. Did Seth MacFarlane and/or a 12-year-old freshly exposed to Google search write this joke? My entire being shuddered when the punchline relied on comparing the manly bomb movie to the silly pink girl movie. Gotta love a critic!
Speaking of bombing, the reactions to the joke told their own story. With Selena Gomez face palming, Harrison Ford’s heavy sigh, and Ryan Gosling’s grimace, it was clear the room felt a lot like we did at home. Oh, but he didn’t stop there. “The key moment in Barbie is when she goes from perfect beauty to bad breath, cellulite, and flat feet. Or what casting directors call character acting!” Ah yes, please remind us how women are unfairly judged by our appearance. What a funny, unique take!
Let me clarify that Jo Koy probably didn’t even write this joke. (Actually, he made it abundantly clear by throwing his writers under the bus during the monologue.) I’ll even go so far as to say his joke about Taylor Swift at the Golden Globes was lazy at best, annoying at worst. The punchline felt about as predictable as a male comedian mentioning his dick more than once during a five-minute set. It was so expected that even T-Swift had organized a drinking game out of her being mentioned. (Sip, bitch!) So my ire is not directed at him, as much as it is about what *that* Barbie joke represents: a woman can write a billion dollar blockbuster hit about what it means to be human and it will still be trivialized as “just girly things.”
The thing is, I’m not even offended. Frankly, I’m bored. I’m bored of the same “women be shopping” type jokes that rely on assuming that everything feminine is inherently trivial and dumb because women like it. Do I think Barbie is Greta Gerwig’s masterpiece? No, she’s a talented filmmaker and will probably go on to make something even bigger and better. But reducing the award-winning movie to a plastic doll with “big boobies” when one of the main themes is literally how challenging it is for women to exist in a patriarchal society… Well, that’s hella ironic.
Everyone agrees 2023 was the year of the girl. And I was kinda hoping we’d get a little more of that energy further into 2024, but misogyny threw a hissy fit literally one week into the new year. I’m not a manifestation girlie, but fingers crossed that cis men can learn to tell jokes that don’t undermine women’s achievement. You know, just girly things. ✨