Shakira receives swift backlash from parents over claims that Barbie was ‘emasculating’

Shakira’s comments on the Barbie movie being “emasculating” have sparked backlash from parents.

Nearly nine months after Barbie’s blockbuster debut in 2023, the 47-year-old Colombian pop star has reignited the debate surrounding the film’s feminist themes. In an interview with Allure, she revealed that her sons - Milan, 11, and Sasha, nine, who she shares with her ex-partner and football star Gerard Piqué - felt that watching the film was “emasculating”.

When asked by an interviewer what she thought of the film, the “Puntería” singer said: “My sons absolutely hated it. They felt that it was emasculating. And I agree, to a certain extent.”

“I’m raising two boys,” she explained. “I want ‘em to feel powerful too [while] respecting women. I like pop culture when it attempts to empower women without robbing men of their possibility to be men, to also protect and provide. I believe in giving women all the tools and the trust that we can do it all without losing our essence, without losing our femininity.”

She added: “I think that men have a purpose in society and women have another purpose as well. We complement each other, and that complement should not be lost.”

“Just because a woman can do it all doesn’t mean she should?” she continued. “Why not share the load with people who deserve to carry it, who have a duty to carry it as well?”

Parents and non-parents alike sounded off on the pop star’s comments, claiming that she completely missed the point of the storyline of Ryan Gosling’s Ken, who was ultimately empowered to feel like he was enough - or “Kenough” outside of his relationship with Margot Robbie’s Barbie.

“Shakira: My boys need all movies (including female drive ones named Barbie) to portray Masculinity and Femininity the way they’ve done for the past 100 years or else they’ll feel small and irrelevant,” one user wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“This is why Barbie is a necessary movie for many women to be introduced to feminism 101 as they still suffer from internalised misogyny,” someone else added.

“Whenever people complain about modern society ‘tearing men down’ and ‘emasculating’ them, it always comes back to wanting to maintain the prestige attached to masculinity,” another posted. “It’s always about pretending that gender roles are natural and not about power and access to resources.”

Some were unsurprised that Shakira was a “boy mom,” and appeared to be perpetuating the idea that men and women should embrace certain gender roles.

“Shakira has always struck me as a ‘i’M nOt LikE oTheR gIrLs’ type so her being a hashtag boymom, missing the whole a** point of Barbie because it did not 100 per cent cater to her sons, is completely unsurprising to me,” another noted.

Barbie outwardly challenged the notion that men and women have to fulfill roles and duties to one another, with the characters Barbie and Ken navigating the aftermath of bringing real-world social structures like the patriarchy back to their idyllic matriarchal utopia, Barbieland. Through its characters, the movie ultimately conveyed that men and women both have different things to bring to the table and don’t have to be dependent on each other to be happy.