“Barbie Girl” As The Ultimate Satire on Women

“Barbie Girl,” ironically loved by women everywhere–even those who were too young to appreciate it in its time–is perhaps one the most satirical pieces of music regarding the nature of women (except “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)” by The Crystals).

Barbie's dream car, as imagined in the  video for "Barbie Girl"
Barbie’s dream car, as imagined in the video for “Barbie Girl”

Lene Nystrøm, the lead singer of Aqua (in case you’re not a first name basis with Norwegian superstars), wields her high-pitched voice for optimum incisiveness while screeching the chorus, “I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world/Like in plastic, it’s fantastic.” Though many might see this as a feministic declaration of owning her plastic, material existence, it is very much a caustic assessment of women who can’t resist the easy temptations of superficiality.

Talking on the telephone with "Ken"
Talking on the telephone with “Ken”

The lyrics continue to sarcastically outline how pliable Barbie (the everywoman in terms of personality, though not necessarily a realistic aesthetic) is as Nystrøm sings, “You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere/Imagination, life is your creation.” By making fun of how willing Barbie is to let herself be molded, particularly by a man, Nystrøm illuminates her pathetic lack of identity.

Aqua, satirical geniuses
Aqua, satirical geniuses

By the end of the track, Nystrøm takes the derision up a notch with “I’m a blond bimbo girl, in a fantasy world/Dress me up, make it tight, I’m your dolly.” Hitting home the point that Barbie has absolutely no will of her own other than to acquire possessions using her looks/pussy (if you can call her non-anatomically correct vagina that), Nystrøm makes it clear that the only type of woman who could ever aspire to be like Barbie is a daft, soulless one.