The Metaphysics of Barbie

Once in a while a motion picture moves beyond being a hit and becomes a phenomenon. When that happens – especially if the particular movie seemed an unlikely success in the first place – it makes ripples in the Zeitgeist. Yes, an element of brilliance in filmmaking is undoubtedly part of the reason. But there is something more; the filmmaker seems to have caught some sort of wave. Which is what likely sparked the creativity that contributed to the brilliance in the filmmaking. I am thinking, for instance, of when Star Wars made its grand entrance, or The Matrix. And, I am thinking of the Barbie movie, which one would have thought to be among the unlikeliest of candidates to become the phenomenon that it clearly is. Accordingly, I ask the question I like to ask: Why? What underlying wave of new creativity is being surfed by this doll that is now 64 years old?

For a while now I have been contemplating the unfolding storyline of humanity on Earth in terms of, well, a story. Recently, and particularly when I read the news-of-the-world (yes, generally a bad idea), I find myself pondering the deepening mess we seem to be in. No real surprise there; every story arc in the “Hero’s Journey” sees the protagonist sinking deeper and deeper into difficulty. Until, beyond initiation and ordeal and the facing of ultimate fears, there is a breakthrough. That is, as the action rises to a crescendo, it leads to a point of climax. At which point our hero/heroine grasps something that turns the tide. I have found myself wondering of late how Harrison Ford or Tom Cruise (or whomever you might cast as protagonist) would find a way out of the mess(es) in which we Earthlings find ourselves. Surely there must be some imminent plot twist, something new and unexpected, some breakthrough, that has been written into the script for the story of “Earth Game”.

Enter Barbie. And no, I’m not joking. I can’t help but sense that behind the ridiculous phenomenon of Barbie-mania, there is something here, something new, something that could shift the course of human history. Hold your guffaws, please, while allowing me a few paragraphs to explain.

To be clear, I am not envisioning some sort of Marvel-Universe Barbie who swoops in to save the world from bad guys by punching and kicking them. Besides, how would that even work? For roughly half the population, their “bad guys” are the heroes of the other half of the population. Too many to punch and kick, and how to know which half to assault? Nor is there some otherworldly menace that is causing all the havoc, in some Stranger Things way. No, it is pretty much humanity’s own inhumanity that is the problem. Besides, beating up on the “bad guys” doesn’t seem like Barbie’s style, does it?

One other preliminary point: no, I do not think we have gone to the proverbial hell in a handbasket, or that we are on our way there. I continue to regard this spectacular planet as “Theme Park Earth”, brilliantly designed and wondrous in its beauty and its abundance. But, there are messes. Addiction and homelessness seem to be ever-increasing. Crime, gun violence, all too common. Governments – pretty much all of which have spent themselves into massive debt – seem to be out of ideas. People often seem downright mean to each other, at least on social media and in traffic (not so much at dog parks). Although we are by leaps and bounds more “connected” than humanity has ever been, loneliness would seem to be epidemic. Even weather seems to be progressively more extreme, even hostile (although the latter may be mostly how we like to report on things). And, there is that horrible war that goes on and on. So yes, there is much conflict in the storyline. Rising action. Surely something has to give.

Again, enter Barbie. Let me explain why it seems to me that something new and wonderful is in the process of making a grand entrance here on Earth.

Frist of all, what’s with the color pink? From a color-wheel perspective, pink isn’t even a real color. It’s just red infused with white. No other combination of a color and white gets to star as its own color. Orange and white, meh. Yellow and white, just pale yellow. Green and white just gets you light green; the same for blue and white. Yes, periwinkle and lavender are nice, but none of the “pastel” colors, other than pink, seem to have achieved an identity of their own. Why is that? And how to explain the personality of pink as kindler, gentler, accepting, feminine?

From a chakra perspective, red as the root chakra (or first chakra) represents grounding, stability, security. It relates to the earth element. Its heartbeat is the deep tones of drums, more so than singing bowls. In the face of a threat to security, survival instincts trigger fight-or-flight. In anger, one “sees red”. In terms of organizational culture, red represents the basest structure: tribal, gang culture, autocracy. The root chakra would seem more masculine energy than feminine energy. Where our world has experienced masculine energy gone wrong – i.e., the false masculinity that seeks to dominate and control – red would seem to be the color of that.

And yet, fill that red up with white light, and everything changes. Pink is known to be a calming color that mitigates violence or rage; to that end, pink has often been used as a design element. Pink is mostly seen as a feminine hue. It is the flagship color for anti-bullying and for the search for a cure for breast cancer. It is light, playful; where there is an edge to red, there is a softness to pink.

Perhaps the softening that comes from infusing white light into a color applies also to other colors as well. But perhaps such a softening is more needed – and thus more noticed – when it comes to the harshness of red. Perhaps it is the life-and-death groundedness of red – with its corresponding tendency to slide into fear and rage – that desperately needs the softening.

Let’s zero in on fear here. The great polarity of our physical world: fear and love. By design; such is the stuff of density. Fear separates; love connects. Fear, taken to its extreme, is aloneness, dog-eat-dog, a fight to the death. At best, an obsessive focusing on our differences, on what separates us. Love points in the other direction, to what connects us. Ultimately, to Oneness; we are all connected. We are all one. Together with the Earth and all of its flora and fauna. And, ultimately, the entire Universe. (I am reminded here of a recent scientific paper postulating that the Universe may be “a single quantum object”.)

To state the obvious, there is a lot of fear going on in our world. Perhaps there always has been. But somehow it seems more in-your-face these days. Perhaps the explanation is that, as we collectively shift up a notch on our evolutionary journey, that constant hum of fear builds to crescendo precisely because it needs to be released.

What better way to let go of fear than to embrace love, its opposite.

And yes, love is feminine energy. Masculine energy ventures forth, separates out, individuates. Feminine energy connects, comes together, comes home. It is not that masculine energy is bad and feminine energy is good; any such view would invite separation, and therefore would be premised on a twisted and false sense of the feminine. No, as I have written in previous articles (see for instance “Integrating Duality”), we all need both. Just as we need breathing in (feminine energy), and we need breathing out (masculine energy).

Right now, though, we particularly need a focus on the inbreath. For so very long the story on Earth has been about the outbreath: I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down. Not that we should condemn that history as bad and wrong; rather, that is what happens with the journey into density and separation. But now, after so long, it is time to turn homeward. It is time to breathe in. In terms of the cycle of 26,000 years, we have begun (in 2012) a period of 13,000 years weighted towards breathing in. It is time for the rise of true feminine energy. And that, I surmise, is the energy behind what the Barbie “craze” is actually about. Healing, letting go. In the monochromatic pink, acceptance of all.

The rise of feminine energy on Earth is not about (finally) gaining the upper hand. That would be only the opposite side of an ugly coin. Rather, true feminine energy is non-hierarchical.

True feminine. No doing required; no scores to settle. Certainly no hatred. Instead, lighten things up. Consider the absurdity of these as potential movie titles: The Revenge of Barbie; or Nightmare on Barbie Street. In a similar vein, can you even imagine an army outfitting its troops in pink uniforms?

Even more incongruous, it seems to me, is the coined term “Barbenheimer”, to describe the same-day theatrical release of Barbie and Oppenheimer. Look at the juxtaposition: Barbie’s all-pink femininity; and a movie about “the father of the atomic bomb”. The latter being about nuclear fission, the splitting of the atom, which in contradistinction to the energy of fusion is the energy of separation. For use in warfare! The one movie focused on feminine energies, the other on a masculine energy (and not the true masculine). Who would even think to put those two together into “Barbenheimer”? Yes, same day release, but perhaps that was more than coincidence. Could the stark contrast between the two have been a no-coincidence-at-all plot device in the story of humanity on Earth?

When I use the expression “true feminine energy”, I am not talking about women to the exclusion of men. We all need the true feminine energy as well as the true masculine energy. Each is beautiful and each is essential. Moreover, they do not compete; rather, they blend in a heavenly way. Only the false, twisted masculine energy seeks to suppress and dominate feminine energy. And, it is only a false, twisted feminine energy that seeks revenge by settling the score with masculine energy. Some of us (irrespective of gender) will naturally reach from the masculine polarity towards the feminine; others will come from the feminine to embrace the masculine. For every one of us, the journey to wholeness involves both.

Am I suggesting that women ought not to pursue physical strength and worldly achievement? No, of course not. But if your path is to become a powerful athlete or a C-suite executive, you will achieve that more with masculine energy than feminine energy – irrespective of your gender. This is solely because doing is fundamentally a masculine energy – just as being, and nurturing, and caring, is fundamentally a feminine energy. Again, no hierarchy here as between these fundamental energies; you need both, every bit as much as you need to both breathe in and breathe out.

In our collective reaction to the injustices and horrors inflicted for centuries by a false, twisted masculine energy, we may have gotten somewhat off track with various waves of “feminism”. Probably all necessary; a push for equal rights had to be in the forefront. But to the extent that it may have sometimes taken on an “us against them” energy, that is not true feminine energy. Because in the beautiful Oneness of true feminine energy, there is no “them”; the love that is at the heart of the true feminine is all-inclusive. There is no need to catalogue race, or gender (at birth or otherwise), or sexuality; the simple answer to all, from the perspective of the true feminine, is “yes”, you are included. You are in. You are loved.

Do any of the above musings relate directly in any way to the actual storyline of the Barbie movie? Spoiler non-alert: no, or at least not overtly. Moreover, I acknowledge that Barbie was more focused on the respective roles of women and men, as opposed to the respective roles of feminine and masculine energy. Still, pitting women and men against each other fares no better than treating feminine and masculine energies as if they were somehow competing as opposed to complementary. In any event, I am writing here about the phenomenon, rather than the story told in the movie. I like to think that the Barbie phenomenon has a lot to do with lightening up and having a good laugh at ourselves over our clumsy navigation of the duality of feminine and masculine.

I find a beautiful gentleness in the all-inclusiveness of the true feminine – of the Divine Feminine. In a recent experience of that gentleness (while in meditation), I swear I heard the cavalry’s call. Yes, a bizarre juxtaposition, I know: Barbie, riding in to save the day with an indescribable lightness. And I imagined the captains of all things masculine, tossing their hats in the air in celebration, as at last they laid down their arms. The war is over, humanity; let’s go home. We’re going to be okay. All of us. Together.

Okay, so maybe I’m a dreamer. But I like the way the dream feels. Thank you, Barbie movie, for showing up at just the right time.