Life is Your Creation: On the Barbie Movie, Radical Capitalism and the Importance of the Imagination to Liberation

  • Lindsey Nkem, Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
    Coach House, Green College, UBC

    Monday, February 26, 8-9pm
    in the series
    Green College Resident Members' Series
  • Over the past 60 years, Barbie has become a hallmark conceptualisation of mainstream female representation, culminating the 2023 live-action film that aims to celebrate the doll’s history as a vehicle of girlhood imagination and complicate the doll’s embodiment of women’s empowerment. However, for whatever Mattel can claim to have achieved in the movie’s direction, casting, production and mass marketing, the way the film approaches the prospect of liberation from patriarchy, capitalism and structural oppression more broadly is insubstantial at best. Was this film or franchise ever going to free us? No. But its incapacity to do so is by no means benign. In considering how both the movie and the brand’s attention to the imagination reflects wider dynamics of elite capture and racial capitalist logics, this talk will examine how central the imaginary is to both the prospect of and work towards achieving liberation.

    Lindsey Nkem is a PhD Candidate in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. An alumna of both the University of Edinburgh and King’s College London, Lindsey has focused her research on the nuances of identity and being important to Black womanhood, and the possibilities for decoloniality in international development work. Lindsey has previously worked to support activists in challenging discriminatory laws imposed under British colonial rule; and collaborated to organise conferences, panel discussions and workshops on anti-racist action, abolition and transformative justice, queer belonging and borders, and on transnational solidarity against racism and settler colonialism. Currently, they are researching how Black communities orient themselves in ways that speak to the importance of envisioning to liberation, while supporting research projects exploring racial capitalism and Black oral histories.

    Each week, the Green College Resident Members’ Series features a different presenter (or presenters) from among the Resident Members of Green College. Graduate students, Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholars offer talks and events on their areas of research or study and, as appropriate, bring in their research colleagues from outside the College. 

    Series Conveners: Michael Carelse, Library and Information Studies; Michelle Kamigaki-Baron, Linguistics; and Ricky, Physics and Astronomy

  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.

February 26th, 2024 from  8:00 PM to  9:00 PM
Custom Lecture Fields
Is this event a spotlight?
Speaker Series Green College Resident Members' Series
Short Title Life is Your Creation: On the Barbie Movie, Radical Capitalism and the Importance of the Imagination to Liberation
Speaker (new) Lindsey Nkem, Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
Short Speaker Lindsey Nkem
Speaker First Name
Speaker Last Name
Speaker Affiliation
Speaker Credentials
Speaker Image
Youtube URL
Podcast URL
Bio Field