Every year for my birthday, I like to do a special self-portrait session. This year I took inspiration from “Barbie”.
And while many people may have been expecting a classic pink themed session, I actually went in a slightly different direction (this look was inspired by one of the most iconic outfits of the entire film in my opinion).
*There are Barbie The Movie spoilers ahead, so please don’t read and just enjoy the photos if you haven’t seen it yet!
As I watched the movie, like many other women and femme-presenting people, I found myself connecting deeply with the Barbies portrayed, I understood the anger of the teen girls when they were face to face with barbie, I cried through Gloria’s speech of what it’s like to be a woman in the real world (and through a few other scenes). But what took me by surprise the most was the connection I felt with Ryan Gosling’s Ken, who was presented in a way that is typically how we see female characters (so maybe it wasn’t all that surprising for some).
Seeing Ken's longing for Barbie's attention and the way it seemed to be the most important thing to him really hit home for me. I knew how many times I had been in those shoes both romantically and in daily life. When Ken found his own interests for what seemed to be the first time in the real world, I understood how easy it was to let that define his personality and go from one extreme to another. How he became this “ideal man” that he thought he was supposed to become. It really highlighted the importance of embracing our own interests and passions, rather than conforming to others expectations of us.
And just as Ken's mindset shifted during "I'm Just Ken," I also found myself letting go of the need for validation and approval. I was reminded that I “Kenough” just being who I am. We don’t need to spend so much time worrying about being “enough” for someone else when we have love for ourselves and work on self-acceptance; of course it’s a work in progress like we saw with him in his final scene with Barbie… but taking those first steps feels so good! And by embracing our authenticity, we embark on a powerful journey.
So I say, screw what others and society wants or expects from us!
We are inherently enough, we are great at doing stuff, we are 10/10's.
Get out there, feel the Kenergy, go after the things that interest YOU the most (like beach or horses), and smash the patriarchy while you're at it!
- Kayleigh Kay