Though «Barbie» is undeniably about Barbie (Margot Robbie), the film is also very much focused on Ken (Ryan Gosling) as well. The goofy, impulsive Ken goes from a bumbling goof who desires nothing more than for Barbie to notice him and validate his existence to an oppressive, abusive macho man after learning about the patriarchy in the real world. In learning about male-dominated societies, he converts Barbieland into one, complete with Mojo Dojo Casa Houses and copies of «The Godfather.» The Barbies — not knowing any better — fall into this trap and become objects for the Kens’ enjoyment.
Despite all of this, Ken still feels empty because Barbie doesn’t love him back. His incorrect notion that he is and always has been entitled to Barbie’s attention pushed him to embrace toxic masculinity. He tries to be something he isn’t and imposes his will on others because he’s sick of feeling small. In the real world, this is something most, if not all, men have to contend with. The patriarchy pushes often impossible images and ideas of what a man should be while simultaneously telling men that they deserve everything. Thus, these standards push the overwhelming majority of men to grow up insecure, frustrated, and entitled, resulting in them hurting themselves and their loved ones in various ways.
«Barbie» makes its message to men abundantly clear, and it’s not against them at all. Don’t be afraid to reject the standards of the patriarchy. Be you and be kind to yourself and others.