Just when all the noise was dying down, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is back in the news. It is still flying at the box-office, remaining number one in the US. It has, curiously, slipped into second place behind The Meg 2 internationally as the Chinese are going crazy for that movie, plus Barbie has been out for longer. This week the focus is a different kind of headline. Barbie is, predictably, facing a ban in some parts of the Middle East.
The film has been banned by Kuwait in an effort to “protect public ethics and social traditions” according to the KUNA news channel and the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information. According to the government out there, Barbie:
“…promulgates ideas and beliefs that are alien to Kuwaiti society and public order”.
According to Reuters, the Lebanon culture minister Mohammad Mortada is pushing for the same there, as the movie:
“…questions the necessity of marriage and having a family.”
Strong language about gender and sexuality is also highlighted as an issue. Bahrain will also ban the film. Hilariously, the movie will still play in Saudi Arabia. Mohammed bin Salman is enacting reforms to modernize the ultra-conservative state. Who would have thought Barbie would be part of that?
Back in the USA, Bill Maher found himself in the news for his review of the film on social media, where he waded into the culture row with both feet and took particular aim at the movie for a comical all-white, all-male Mattel board when, in reality, the Mattel board contains five women.
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