Fresh off the reel and seemingly straight to our hearts, the Barbie movie has been making waves in our community and beyond since its release just a few short days ago. Curious what all the craze was about, I finally went to see it this past Friday. Yes, I loved it and you should totally go see it too, if you haven’t already, but I don’t wanna bore you with yet another review – you’ve probably read tons of those already elsewhere and I don’t think I have much to add. What I do want to talk about though is a particularly poignant scene, that caught my attention as I was sitting in the darkened theater immersed in the very magic of Barbieland.
For those of you who haven’t seen the film: At some point in the movie Barbieland, the magical queendom where Barbies rule, is taken over by the Kens, throwing the Barbie community into a state of chaos. Faced with this sudden, gargantuan challenge, the main character, “Stereotypical Barbie”, finds herself overwhelmed. She lays face down on the ground, defeated, uttering, “I can’t do this. I’m Stereotypical Barbie. I just want to lie here and wait for one of the smarter Barbies to fix everything.”
The hopelessness, the defeat, and the desire to just close one’s eyes and hope that when they open again, the problems would be magically fixed – it resonated so profoundly. As the Founder of this very publication and an advocate in the women’s health space, I understand this feeling intimately. Pioneering change in the deeply ingrained and often patriarchal structures of women’s health can be daunting and overwhelming. There are days when the enormity of the task seems impossible to surmount. And there are moments when the temptation to just ‘lie in the grass’ – as Stereotypical Barbie did – and wait for someone else, someone we perceive to be smarter or more capable, to fix everything feels overpoweringly strong.
But then, I remember why we’re here, why we chose this path. And most importantly, why it matters. The femtech movement exists because women’s health has been on the sidelines for too long, overlooked, and often misunderstood. It exists because we believe that we can and must do better. That we deserve better.
I know this feeling of being overwhelmed, of wanting to pass the baton to someone else, and I also know it isn’t just felt by me. It’s a sentiment shared by countless individuals in countless fields here in our very real world, each grappling with their version of ‘the Kens’ and chaos. But what this Barbie movie scene and our journey in femtech show us is the necessity of perseverance, resilience, and also the belief in the power of collective effort.
If we all succumb to the feeling of being overwhelmed and waiting for someone else to fix everything, we’re only perpetuating the cycle of inertia and complacency. Change, especially systemic change, is challenging, even messy. It is painstakingly slow, and it requires relentless effort. But it also requires each of us to rise, dust ourselves off, and continue pushing forward, just like ‘Stereotypical Barbie’ did eventually. It takes every single one of us to say, “Yes, I can do this”.
The femtech community is not just capable of facing challenges; we are more than equipped to overcome them. We have the resilience to get back up when we’re knocked down, the creativity to find solutions where none seem apparent, and the communal strength to keep going, even when the road seems endless.
So today, let’s take a page from Barbie’s playbook. Let’s acknowledge the difficulties, the moments of doubt and defeat, but let’s not let them define us. Let’s get back up, brush ourselves off, and remember that we have the power to enact real, meaningful change. And let’s do it together. I strongly believe this to be the only way we can truly transform the landscape of women’s health – by believing in ourselves AND in each other, one step at a time.
Remember, especially in the face of the overwhelming odds we may be up against sometimes: “Yes, we can do this”. And yes, we will do this. Together. 💪
This post is dedicated to and inspired by Rachel Bartholomew. Rachel is the Founder & CEO of HyIvy, Femtech Canada Board Advisor, and an unstoppable force for good in the women’s health innovation ecosystem. She recently initiated a new global movement to connect femtech communities across borders. Thanks for everything you do, Rachel.