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This Blog’s Everything. He’s Just Ken.

By Kallie Stahl 

To quote the band Aqua, “I’m a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie world.”

If you’ve read Shawn Proctor’s blog, or you’ve seen the numerous memes surrounding this summer’s biggest rival, then you know it’s Oppenheimer vs. Barbie. Proctor covered Christopher Nolan’s film on Wednesday, and I felt Barbie deserved equal coverage. After all, she’s everything. He’s just Ken.

"Barbie" film poster. Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Short Review:

Both films hit theatres Friday, July 21. I didn’t score tickets to an early screening of Barbie (as Proctor did with Oppenheimer), so I’ll leave the review to Manohla Dargis of the New York Times:

“Like Air, Ben Affleck’s recent movie about how Nike signed Michael Jordan, as well as other entertainments tethered to their consumer subjects, Barbie can only push so hard. These movies can’t damage the goods, though I’m not sure most viewers would want that; our brands, ourselves, after all. That said, [director] Greta Gerwig does much within the material’s inherently commercial parameters, though it isn’t until the finale — capped by a sharply funny, philosophically expansive last line — that you see the Barbie that could have been. Gerwig’s talents are one of this movie’s pleasures, and I expect that they’ll be wholly on display in her next one — I just hope that this time it will be a house of her own wildest dreams.”

View Barbie showtimes here.

The Story Behind the Movie:

Fast facts courtesy of and USA Today:

  • Barbie was created by Mattel in 1959 (Ken joined her in 1961).
  • Barbie was invented by Ruth Handler (Mattel was co-founded by Handler and her husband Elliot).
  • The initial idea for Barbie came to Handler after watching her daughter play with paper dolls.
  • Barbie was modeled after the Bild Lilli doll (Mattel bought the rights to the doll and made their own).
  • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts (named after Handler’s daughter, Barbara. Ken is named after her son, Kenneth).
  • Her birthday is March 9, 1959, the day she was unveiled to the toy industry during New York Toy Fair.
  • Barbie is from (fictional) Willows, Wisconsin.
  • Her first outfit? Black-and-white striped swimsuit.
  • Barbie’s signature color is Barbie Pink (PMS 219).
  • She’s had over 250 different occupations.
  • It takes more than 100 people to create a Barbie doll and her fashions.
  • Barbie is the most popular fashion doll ever produced and the No. 1 fashion doll property.
  • More than 100 Barbie dolls are sold every minute.
  • The best-selling Barbie doll? The 1992 Totally Hair™ Barbie.
  • Over 18 billion minutes of Barbie user-generated content is created every year.

Further Reading with Falvey Library Resources:


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library. Some of her favorite Barbie dolls of the 90’s: Bead Blast Barbie Doll, Olympic Gymnast Barbie Doll, Movin’ Groovin’ Barbie Doll, and Dorothy Barbie Doll (The Wizard of Oz). 



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Weekend Recs: ’90s Throwback

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Whether they were your formative years or simply a blip in your life, the ’90s are a decade wrapped up in nostalgia, even if you weren’t born yet. Personally, I only spent a few months in the ’90s, obviously none of which I remember, but I still find the 90s to be influential today (even if the early 00s are replacing their vintage fashion status).

With finals approaching and burnout rearing its ugly head, these ’90s themed recs will hopefully give you a healthy dose of nostalgia without the pressing weight and anxieties about current events. So, (temporarily) forget about your stressors and turn off your brain for a short-while and enjoy some lighthearted nostalgia.

If you have 3 minutes and 48 seconds…and love pop anthems, watch the music video for “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears. Although it’s nearly impossible to narrow the ’90s down into one rec, as there are so many amazing choices, Britney has stayed relevant for nearly three decades, and this video is incredibly iconic.

Bonus: check out the ’90s genre on Spotify for playlists to fit your tastes. Personally, I think the All Out ’90s playlist has a pretty solid mix, and I’d totally recommend the ’90s Rock Anthems playlist (or simply any ’90s album from No Doubt, Nirvana, and Hole).

If you have 22 minutes…and are a fan of Friends, watch “The One with the Embryos.” It has the perfect balance between plotline and comedy to make it an overall enjoyable watch, even when you’re stressed out. (If you haven’t seen Friends, start from the beginning).

If you have 26 minutes…and miss the time when learning was fun, watch an episode of The Magic School Bus. My personal favorite was (the very unhinged) “The Magic School for Lunch.”

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

If you have 1 hour and 37 minutes…and want to watch the quintessential ’90s rom-com, watch Clueless, available online through Falvey. This quotable classic is a perfect watch if you want to de-stress and enjoy a lighthearted movie (or if you just like Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd).

Bonus: if you like more serious romances, watch Titanic, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection.

If you have 1 hour and 52 minutes…and hate Sea World, watch Free Willy, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. This movie tells the story of Jesse, a troubled child in foster care, as he forms a bond with a lonely captive orca whale and sets out to release him back into the ocean. Fun fact: it was also one of my favorite movies as a kid.

If you have 2 hours and 6 minutes…and want to shed some tears, watch Good Will Hunting, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. As opposed to some of the film bro movies, this film is a beautiful depiction of a man coming to terms with his emotions and trauma with the help of a dedicated therapist. The platonic chemistry between Robin Williams and Matt Damon is enough to leave you (or me, at least) teary eyed.

If you have 5 hours…and want to read a 1990s and 2010s hit, read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Yes, the movie that had a monopoly on semi-inspirational quotes for nearly a decade is based on a novel by Stephen Chbosky. Following Charlie as he navigates high school as a grief-stricken wallflower trying to find his place, this late 90s book is filled with friendship, trauma, and healing.

Bonus: for more ’90s book recs, check out this list.

If you have 10 hours…and like eerie horror-thrillers, watch the first season of Yellowjackets. Set between two time periods in 1996 and 2021, this show follows a soccer team that crash lands and ends up stranded for months in the Canadian wilderness and the aftermath of their gruesome ordeal. Not for the squeamish, the show contains some horror staples, such as gore, cannibalism, and cult rituals. Yet, it leans into ’90s nostalgia and features some recognizable faces from the 90s, including Christina Ricci, Melanie Lynskey, and Juliette Lewis. If you end up enjoying it, the second season is currently airing, with its 6th episode airing this Sunday.

Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.



Last Modified: May 5, 2023

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