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Embracing the Taboo: Reflecting on One of the Barbie Movie's Thought-Provoking Moments

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Written by Cheryl Cottrill, End of Life Doula

Warning: There may be spoilers in this blog post if you have not yet seen the movie.

I initially had no interest in watching the Barbie movie, assuming it was a frivolous movie about a plastic doll that did not relate to real-life women. However, my daughter convinced my husband and me to watch it with her, and I am glad we did. The film has many important messages that are relevant to our society and led to great conversations after the movie about the patriarchy, the beauty of aging, and societal expectations for women.

For me one of the movie's thought-provoking moments occurs when Barbie brings up the concept of death in a world where everyone is always happy. This taboo topic stops all the dolls in their tracks. This reaction to the taboo idea of even thinking of death, especially in a world where Barbie is happy all the time, is truly a reflection of our own reality. Just like in Barbie Land, discussing death remains a taboo topic in the “real world.”

We tend to shy away from any discussions about dying, death and grief, avoiding essential conversations that are necessary for our well-being and our loved ones. In many cultures and societies, discussing death is considered morbid or negative, leading to a culture of silence around the subject. This silence can leave individuals unprepared for the inevitable and make it difficult for families to honour their loved ones' wishes.

At Huron Shores Hospice we work to provide a refreshing contrast to this prevailing silence. We host Death Cafes so our guests can have open conversations about dying and death, fostering understanding and acceptance of this natural part of life. Our hope is that these interactions will make it easier for them to have these important conversations with loved ones.

Our End of Life Planning workshops offer a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore the complexities of end-of-life planning, guided by compassionate End-of-Life Doulas. Just as the Barbie movie challenges the dolls to reframe their perspectives on life and death, these workshops empower participants to view end-of-life planning as an essential aspect of their journey and legacy.

By embracing this proactive approach, individuals can ensure that their wishes are respected and relieve their families of the burden of making difficult choices during times of crisis.

In conclusion, the Barbie movie reminds us of the power of conversations that challenge societal taboos. By embracing our own mortality, we can better understand what is important and move to live a more fulfilled life. It's time for those of us in the “real world” to dive into these deep conversations about dying and death, moving our perspective into engagement, empowerment, and compassion.

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