Skip to main content

Fashion, Feminism, and Michael Cera: How Allan Ignored Masculinity and Inspired Hope in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie

by Emily Duff

In Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, fashion, feminism, and a sprinkle of Michael Cera’s charm collide. 


DISCLOSURE: OUR REVIEW OF BARBIE DOES NOT

CROSS PICKET LINES OF THE SAG AFTRA & WGA STRIKE


WARNING: SPOILERS FROM THE BARBIE MOVIE AHEAD 


Surrounded by Barbies and Kens, there’s only one Allan.


Although a side character, Allan, brought to life by Michael Cera, will steal your heart - and, perhaps, shed some light on a crucial feminist message too.


Now, we’re not here to start praising men like Allan for the bare minimum. Instead, we see Allan as a symbol. 



When you’re in a world of Kens who not only want to overpower you but also take whats yours with no remorse, it can be hard to see the Allan’s amongst the crowd. And that’s where blanket statements like “I hate men” come in. 


But those like Allan won’t take offence. In a world of toxic masculinity, Allan's presence is like a breath of fresh air, reminding us that true masculinity lies in compassion and empathy.


Dominated by chiseled Kens, Allan is lanky and pale - far from the usual tan and muscular stereotype. 


While, like the Kens, Allan is a man, his manhood does not seem to mirror that of the Kens.


When we first encounter Allan, he's the awkward guy on the side of the action, seemingly overlooked by those around him.


While Kens spend their days pining after Barbies, Allan spends his own time pining after Ken; where the others never lose their smiles, Allan pairs his beachwear with a frown - he doesn’t conform to those around him. 


From the outset, he exhibits a general discomfort with the status quo - arguably, a testament to breaking gender norms.


His trademark outfit consists of navy short-shorts and a rainbow button-down. Need we say more?


The awkwardness of Allan’s first appearance is perfect. 


When all the Barbies and Kens exchange their morning greetings, Allan’s sudden appearance in the group is treated like a surprise. From the narrator, Helen Mirren, we also learn, “There are no multiples of Allan. He’s just Allan.”


As we get into the plot and are amidst the power shift in Barbie World, where Barbies role has been flipped on his head, Allan remains uneasy despite the change seemingly being of benefit to him. 


He's not interested in the superficial pleasures that the other Kens indulge in. 


Although more gentle natured than the rest, Allan proves to be tougher than all the Kens combined when faced with an emergency. 


During a confrontation with a group of construction workers, he steps up to defend Barbie and demonstrates that actual strength can come from your character, rather than your appearance.


In fact, one of the most endearing aspects of Allan is his unwavering sense of self. 


As one-of-a-kind, he knows exactly who he is and what he stands for. He doesn't let the allure of notability or power sway him from doing what's right. 


In the midst of the film’s discussions about toxic masculinity, it's important to remember that feminism is not anti-men. 


Allan's character stands as a beacon of hope for feminists, showcasing that using the help of men like Allan can coexist with the pursuit of gender equality. 


He breaks the stereotype of "not all men" being an excuse and instead shows that being one-of-a-kind and true to oneself is the coolest way to navigate a world full of ego-driven replicas.


When you know who you are and what’s right, you’re smart and empathetic enough to know that “not all men” is not actually an argument. 


While he is not the focus of the movie and Allan may be just Allan, he's a powerful symbol of hope and inclusivity in Barbieland. 


And with Michael Cera's magic touch, he steals the show and our hearts in 2023’s hit fashionably feminist film, Barbie. 

Most Popular

‘Make Tattooing Safe Again’: Sheffield Based Tattoo Artist Exposed for Indecent Behaviour

 by Emily Fletcher TW: SA, Animal Abuse, Transphobia Photo Credit: @ meiko_akiz uki Recently, an  Instagram account  has been created to provide a  ‘space to safely give a voice to those who want to speak out about the behaviour of one, Sheffield based tattoo artist’. A  total of 40+ posts have been made by the above social media account regarding  one of Sheffield's most popular tattoo artists .  Thankfully, all posts are prefaced with a Content Warning prior to sharing screenshots of the messages that have been sent anonymously to the page. The majority of Content Warnings refer to sexual behaviour, abuse, and sexual assault. It is clear that there is a reoccurring theme within each submission, as many clients appear to have had the same experiences with the tattoo artist. Women, mostly, are being made to feel uncomfortable while being tattooed. One of the most vulnerable positions anyone can be in, tattoo artists should make their clients feel comfortable and safe during the pro

Now What? The Aftermath of the 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl'

by Susan Moore Here is a bit about me: I am an open, excitable, creative AFAB who is also moderately attractive. I have a unique sense of personal style and a personality that on the surface can only be described as “bubbly” and “quirky”. For this reason, dating is a nightmare. To be sure, I do not have a hard time finding dates or potential suitors. The problems arise when said dates spend some time with me and decide that I am a rare specimen, and the connection they feel with me is “unlike anything they have felt before”. Then, things go one of two ways.  Either a) they decide I am too high maintenance and no longer palatable, or  b) they choose to never look further than the surface and are content to date the idea of me rather than the real me. There is something rather interesting, perhaps funny, about my situation. It is in no way unique. I have met so many people who constantly dealt with the same problem. Even funnier still, is the fact that there is a trope that simultaneousl

Eurydice’s Last Words

by Kate Bradley I do not want to return To sit in the stalls, Of an empty black box Strewn with petals Leave the ghost light on, Let it shine like a call home, But I will not come back To turn it off alone. I learn this as we walk Our ever so solemn path Our thudding funeral march, You think we’re going back. As I trace my old steps, I fear of the day When the symphony swells, And I land my gaze On you, yet you will be Enraptured by the sound, If you did twist To turn around, You would not see me. So I am not sorry, I speak out into the empty air And I am not sorry. “Turn Around.” You do, you look You think  I fall But I run on, Arms wide open To fall in love With it all “Perhaps she was the one who said, ‘Turn around.” On the X45 bus, back from the Tyneside Cinema, I wrote a poem entitled “Eurydice’s Final Words”, after having seen “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”.  That poem was terrible, so I wrote a new one, as my response to the beautifully poignant film.  In one scene, Héloïse, an 18