‘Barbie’ Movie Banned in Kuwait, Twitter Reacts

August 10th, 2023 3:11 PM

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard about the new Barbie movie with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. You’ve also probably heard that it strays away from tradition and towards progressivism.

(Disclaimer: We aren’t here to bash the Barbie movie as we know some people loved it. Good for them. We are here to recognize the fact that the themes and characters in "Barbie" do not align with some religions.) 

Late last night, Kuwait announced its ban on the movie in a statement from the state-run KUNA news agency, BBC News reported. Supposedly the ban was over the fact that “Barbie” promotes “ideas and beliefs that are alien to the Kuwaiti society and public order.” Kuwaiti officials also accused the film of “promoting homosexuality.”

“Lafi al-Subaiei, the head of Kuwait's board of film classification, said that usually the board asks for movie scenes deemed to flout his country's culture to be cut," the BBC article reported. "But when they promote behavior the state thinks is unacceptable, they are banned outright.” 

While the Barbie film isn’t entirely based on sexuality and gender, it does feature a gay actress, Kate McKinnon, and a transgender actor, Hari Nef. Not to mention, Gosling's performance of Ken paints him in a very feminist nature. Men acting in this way is controversial in Middle Eastern culture.  

Kuwait isn't the only country to take a stand against Barbie. The Lebanese Culture Minister urged the interior ministry to “take all necessary measures to ban” the film.

The Lebanese interior minister said that the film “promotes homosexuality and transsexuality…supports rejecting a father's guardianship, undermines and ridicules the role of the mother, and questions the necessity of marriage and having a family."

In Lebanon, after the scenes of Barbie were exposed, authorities decided the homosexual themes posed an “imminent danger” to the society. 

In light of the news, users online applauded Kuwait’s move to ban the film. 

“Great decision,” one user wrote. Another said, “Isn't it part of freedom for countries to ban movies that don't align with their values, or is freedom limited only to Western values.”

Others blasted the move.

“Such fragile tiny men that can't let people watch a film because they're scared of reality,” one said.

Amnesty International, a global movement who looks to “end abuses of human rights,” said. “Censorship based solely on meanness due to the difference in the other's gender identity is without a doubt a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression,” in a tweet translated from Arabic by Google. 

Ultimately, these Middle Eastern countries likely have bigger things to be worrying about, it's nice to see them stand their ground on what sorts of ideologies should and should not be accessible and promoted throughout their nations.