Concerned with the portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters in the new Barbie film, Russian legislator Maria Butina has called for a ban on the Mattel dolls in Moscow.
The film’s debut on July 21 attracted a lot of attention and was widely panned by conservatives throughout the globe due to the movie’s feminist themes and inclusion of LGBTQ+ performers. Butina, a former spy convicted and sentenced in the United States for conspiring to work as an unregistered foreign agent, called for a ban on the famous dolls in Russia.
Butina complained that the film ignored the importance of heterosexual marriage and focused on lesbians, transgender persons, and powerful women (Barbies). She advocated banning Mattel items, including the iconic Barbie doll, to boost sales of Russian goods.
Although there are no other openly LGBT characters in the film, Doctor Barbie is played by transgender model and actress Hari Nef. Robbie, the film’s producer who also portrays Barbie, has said that the dolls that populate the film have no sexual preferences. However, she did say that the film’s intentional casting of LGBTQ+ performers was done so that viewers could identify with the characters.
Russia has a long history of being considered one of the most homophobic nations. Russia is unfortunately listed as the 23rd worst country for the LGBTQ+ community on Equaldex’s ranking. Authorities in Russia’s Chechnya area have reportedly been viciously persecuting the LGBTQ+ community. The State Duma has attempted to outlaw LGBTQ+ propaganda, and at least one Russian officer has portrayed the invasion of Ukraine as a Holy war against the LGBTQ+ population.
Barbie has been criticized by conservatives in the United States for its promotion of feminism and LGBTQ+ inclusiveness. Ben Shapiro, a conservative pundit, has called the film “flaming garbage” and “one of the most woke movies he’s ever seen.”