On the face of it, the Barbie movie has nothing to do with alcohol.
(In fact, there are hardly any booze references in the film itself.)
However, there’s a brilliant monologue in the middle of the movie that has everything to do with why women drink.
It’s so important to talk about the many, many pressures placed on women, about not feeling good enough and the desire to numb out from it all.
And that’s exactly what I’m doing in today’s video…
Here’s the Barbie monologue in full:
“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 always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.
“You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas.
“You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman but also always be looking out for other people. You have to answer for men’s bad behaviour, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood.
“But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line.
“It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out, in fact, that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.”
The desire to numb out
I often work with women who tell me that they don’t really know why they drink. On paper, their life looks pretty perfect. They feel bad that they’re not just grateful for what they’ve got. Instead, at the end of most days, they have a strong urge to escape the world and numb out from their lives.
When you look at the monologue from the Barbie movie and consider the many different societal expectations placed on women, you can start to understand why many of us do look for ways to numb out. Alcohol seems to help you switch off and ignore your supposed shortcomings.
Alcohol is not a good, long-term solution. In fact, it always gives you more of what you don’t want. If you drink because you feel like you’re not doing a great job juggling motherhood and work, alcohol will just amplify that. It will have you rolling into work with a hangover and coming home with an even shorter fuse and missing the events you wanted to go to.
It doesn’t matter what you’re drinking to avoid, the same principle holds true. Think you’re not thin enough, not rich enough, not successful enough? Alcohol will distract you from that for a moment, but in the long run, it will make you fatter, poorer and less successful. Crucially, booze robs you of the time and energy to work on yourself and realise the one thing every woman should know: you are already enough. You are enough, just as you are.