The ‘Barbie’ Movie Is Driving Adults To Buy Emotional Support Dolls
It’s still a Barbie world, even after the hit movie has left theaters. Barbie has prompted people to buy emotional support dolls in order to reconnect with their inner child, echoing the plot of the film.
As reported by CNN, many adults have documented their journey through TikTok, posting videos of themselves in the toy sections of stores to pick out dolls that best resemble who they are. These “emotional support Barbies” go beyond the typical play one engages in through childhood: They tap into nostalgic yearning and hopefulness, both of which the film emphasize.
The outlet says this cathartic experience is one of “girlhood,” another theme of the acclaimed movie, and the passing down of Barbies to a new generation has become a popular trend on TikTok as well. Not only is buying a child’s first Barbie gaining traction, so is presenting the doll to a mother or grandmother who never had the opportunity to play with one as a little girl.
One video that went went viral showed a girl gifting her mother a Dia de los Muertos doll that represents their heritage and girlhood all at once.
@bbrxtneyy24 I was fighting them tearssss y’all lmao me and my mom are a work in progress but i have so much love for her and now have a better understanding of her childhood and how regardless she did better than how she grew up i love you momma @Angebella! ✨ ♬ What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] – Billie Eilish
Both the mother and daughter shared the heartwarming moment. The mother looked at her gift in awe, showing that dolls can provide healing for people of all ages.
This “ageless sense of play” can be of great benefit to one’s mental health, as it can counter depression, according to a psychology professor Kristin Flora.
“We have quite a bit of research that shows the benefits of play for children. But increasingly, we have scientific evidence that play is beneficial for adults as well, especially in the mental health realm,” shared Flora with CNN.
She continued: “Some of the research suggests that it can help stave off depression. It can help us build a sense of optimism, which is really important when things are uncertain. It can help us decide what disposition to take as we live through unprecedented times.”
According to Flora, this phenomenon transcends racial, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers, just as the Barbie movie spoke to women and girls of all backgrounds, encouraging them to participate in the pink-filled joy the movie evoked.
“Through our dress, we can exert that sense of play or playfulness,” shared the educator. “And what was striking for me was that this moment of play cut through age, race and ethnicity, ability status, every identity. It was everyone, together, enjoying this cultural moment.”