Brendan O’Neill Brendan O’Neill

Barbie’s critics are the real snowflakes

Barbie
Ken and Barbie (Image: Barbie/ Warner Bros)

Hold on: I thought it was the wimpish new left that loses its rag over ‘offensive’ culture. Aren’t snowflakes usually self-styled radicals, with multicoloured hair and pronouns in their bios, who rage like overgrown children against movies or books or jokes that rattle their fragile sensibilities? Yet now it’s men on the right, blokes who no doubt consider themselves resilient, who are bawling like babies over a film they don’t like.

The mad overreaction to a movie about a life-sized doll speaks to today’s culture of fragility and intolerance

The film is the Barbie movie. The men are Ben Shapiro, Piers Morgan and an army of unwoke bros on the internet. They’re all flapping with fury over Barbie’s ‘man-hating agenda’. The speed with which these blokeish critics of snowflakery have themselves turned into snowflakes – getting swept up in a blizzard of fainthearted horror over a film they don’t like – has been extraordinary. Perhaps the poor dears need a safe space?

First out of the gate was Shapiro, an American conservative commentator. He made a YouTube video titled ‘Ben Shapiro DESTROYS The Barbie Movie For 43 Minutes’. That’s a hard pass from me. Mr Shapiro felt so wounded by Barbie, especially by the pot-shots it takes at the patriarchy, that he filmed himself burning Barbie and Ken dolls. It brings to mind those watery-eyed trans allies who burn Harry Potter books as a form of medieval protest against the speech-crimes of the witch JK Rowling.

Shapiro, of course, has criticised Potter burnings. ‘Leftists are now burning Harry Potter books because they are triggered by JK Rowling’s alleged “transphobia” and “fatphobia”’, he huffed on Facebook in 2020. And yet now you, my friend, are burning dolls because you’re triggered by a movie. In both cases a pre-modern purging is being carried out, with snowflakes sacrificing to Vulcan’s flames the source of their emotional pain in the hope that it might help alleviate their suffering.

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