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Why Doesn't Barbie Like Ken in Barbie? TikTok Has a Theory

This TikTok Theory Could Explain Barbie and Ken's Surprising Dynamic in "Barbie"

BARBIE, from left: Ryan Gosling as Ken, Margot Robbie as Barbie, 2023.  Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett CollectionImage Source: Everett Collection

This post contains spoilers for "Barbie."

Besides being a total party from start to finish, "Barbie" is a truly groundbreaking film. It manages to address almost every issue with Barbie dolls while still celebrating them; it delivers a powerful message about impossible expectations placed on women; and it's also somewhat unusual (at least in the world of female-centric comedies) because at the end of the movie, Margot Robbie's Barbie doesn't end up with Ryan Gosling's Ken. Instead, she actually never has any interest in him and never seems to feel pressured to return his feelings. She even wisely points out at one point that his infatuation with her has a lot to do with his own insecurity. Finally, at the end of the movie, she sets out on her own journey of self-discovery.

According to a viral TikTok, though, there might be a more complex reason for why Barbie doesn't want a Ken in her life. In a 25 July video, TikTok user @callmeashbash posits that the reason Robbie's Barbie is just not that into Ken is because she's so deeply connected to Gloria (America Ferrera), who says she never played with Ken as a child at one point during the film. "Barbie's subconscious comes from Gloria. So, if Gloria didn't feel like Barbie needed a Ken doll, then Barbie would feel like she didn't need a Ken doll," the TikTok user says.


I’m going to watch this again this week. Who’s with me 😂 #barbiemovie #kenandbarbie #gloriaandbarbie

♬ original sound - AshBash

Barbie's subconscious connection to Gloria does drive the film's main plot, so it would make sense that Gloria may have influenced Barbie in more than a few ways. On the other hand, it's not entirely clear how intertwined Barbies are with the real-world humans who play with them, and it almost seems unfair to need a logistical reason for why Barbie doesn't return Ken's affections. Sometimes a girl just isn't interested — and "Barbie" does important work by making that a decision worth celebrating.

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