With its clever social commentary and nostalgic Barbiecore vibes, it’s no surprise that the live-action Barbie movie is taking the nation by storm.
Many disabled viewers have been effusive in their praise for the movie’s revolutionary inclusion of two attention-grabbing cameos by visibly disabled actors, totaling like four seconds of screen time.
But not everyone is so thrilled. Disabled film critic Wendy Gregg tweeted, “When everyone else gets a full 15 seconds of fame, should disabled Barbies really settle for four? The two characters with disabilities didn’t even get to say ‘Hi Barbie!’”
When questioned about this, Warner Bros. executives pointed to a focus group of men 21-44 who spent the whole session asking how the disabled Barbies would be able to have sex. “We explained that none of the Barbies — or Kens — are anatomically correct, but it still seemed to stress the men out. So we figured we’d cut Wheelchair Barbie’s screen time down to just one dance move and an appearance in the background of that other scene,” said one exec on condition of anonymity.
“It was very scientific. Men need three seconds to decide if they want to have sex with someone. Four felt like a safe number that would make the disabled Barbies desirable without getting into the zone where the men start to overthink things.”
We asked why the movie didn’t include the less sexually charged “Share a Smile Becky” character, who also uses a wheelchair. The executive replied, “It would have been an undue hardship for us to make an accessible Dreamhouse.” He paused. “Look, we told [director] Greta Gerwig to spare no expense making Barbieland anything she wanted it to be, and she pushed for these disabled Barbies, but adding an elevator …” Realizing what he had just said, our source turned Barbie-pink and stammered. “Elevators are uh, expensive, and we overspent on that fancy slide, okay? If the disabled Barbies can’t do stairs, can’t they just climb up the slide?”
Sure, you might have missed Wheelchair Barbie or that other actress with a prosthetic on screen for a moment when you were looking down at your popcorn, but we promise you they were there. And most importantly, they were #Barbie.