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Hillary Clinton Pokémon-Goes-Off on Barbie Snubs

Everyone always says “but her emails” when they should be saying “but her females.

That’s not a quote from America Ferrera’s Oscar-nominated performance of an Oscar-nominated monologue in the Oscar-nominated film Barbie, but it might as well have been. Yesterday, Barbie was nominated for eight Academy Awards, across acting, writing, technical, and musical categories, as well as a Best Picture slot. However, Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie did not get nominated in the Directing and Lead Actress categories, respectively. Despite Gerwig’s nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and Robbie’s producer nomination in Best Picture, Barbie fans are interpreting their non-noms as snubs, and not just snubs but Snubs Against All Women.

Many of these Barbie fans think that Ryan Gosling’s nomination for his stellar comedic performance as Ken somehow echoes the themes of the movie, as though he were taking a Best Actress slot away from Robbie. Despite the fact that Barbie made $1.4 billion globally (“That’s what the money is for!”), the discourse is heated, oversimplifying, and distracting from some really exciting nominations for women of color, including Lily Gladstone for Killers of the Flower Moon and Celine Song’s Best Picture and Screenplay nods for Past Lives. The framing of this financially, critically, and culturally successful box-office juggernaut as a victim of the patriarchy has awakened one notable defender in — oh my ***, of course — Hillary Clinton, who has found common cause with the reductive feminism at play here.

In a tweet that encapsulates everything great and terrible about that website, Clinton addressed a message to “Greta & Margot,” saying, “While it can sting to win the box office but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you. You’re both so much more than Kenough.” Clinton signed it with a hashtag: #HillaryBarbie.

Replace “box office” with “popular vote,” and “gold” with “presidential election,” and suddenly the tweet’s tonal resemblance to 2016 campaign moments like “Pokemon Go to the polls” feels like a harbinger of the rest of the election year to come. Considering Clinton’s silence on actual global crises women are currently facing, her decision to wade into Barbie’s viral moment is just verrry whatever the opposite of intersectional is. It’s the stop sign at the intersection, maybe. And the hashtag? Perfection! Maybe it will inspire a whole new genre of hashtags combining viral pop-culture moments with former presidential hopefuls: #CruzWorldCruise. #BernieJoshWine. #RonDeSantisSaltburnTub. And so forth.

Where is the real President Barbie when we need her most?


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