Nostalgia, Barbie And Staying At Home

Raphael Alegbeleye/PantherNOW

Jennifer Peña/Assistant Opinion Director

With all the uncertainty in the world today, quiet moments at home can be a rare source of comfort.

As I continue to work and take classes at home, I sometimes think back to when I was a kid, playing with dolls and watching cartoons within the same walls. It goes without saying that things are different now, but we can still think about the little things that sparked joy for us back then and how they can apply to us today. 

If the idea of watching a Barbie movie from 2004 all these years later sounds silly, I understand. But when I planned a movie night with friends to do just that, we all shared genuine enjoyment of a film lost in our distant memories. It was more than nostalgia that made us love it.

Did I expect to find myself writing about the value of watching a childhood favorite in the middle of a pandemic? Not really. But a big part of this whole period has been uncertainty and new experiences, including staying at home and—for many—being apart from friends indefinitely.

In these more lonesome times, I’ve noticed that several friends and relatives have been doing a lot of cleaning, digging up relics from the past in the process. These include old movies, whether as part of the digital Disney+ selection or ancient DVDs and VHS tapes. 

In a similar fashion, I found myself thinking about the films I used to watch as a child, when I spent a lot of time at home as I still like to do, but without the gloom and mundanity brought on by this pandemic. 

That’s where Barbie comes in. I watched the Barbie films countless times as a kid, and I remembered loving them then. When we’ve been stuck at home for so long, nostalgia can be a big source of comfort. 

Thankfully, my friends seemed to share that sentiment. I prefaced my suggestion for us to have a movie night with “this isn’t a joke,” and from there our plans to watch “Barbie As The Princess and the Pauper” together were born.

Even more thankfully, the film turned out to be a hidden gem from the early 2000s. We appreciated it for its catchy and interesting soundtrack, strong female leads (feminist icons, in my opinion), and interesting plot (with an antagonist whose dynamic plans are, in my friend’s words, “actually pretty smart”). 

As Miami starts to reopen… there are some aspects of life at home that I plan to take with me.

But beyond that, there was something warm and peaceful about all of us coming together to enjoy an old Barbie movie, despite the dated graphics. Finding ways to spend time with friends while you’re social distancing is, as I’ve written before, so important in these lonely and uncertain times. 

As Miami starts to reopen and people slowly but steadily go back to life outside of their homes, there are some aspects of life at home that I plan to take with me. 

For one, the first Barbie movie night served as a test run of finding ways for our group of five to play a movie at the same time. We all agreed that we should do it again (especially considering how good the movie is, but I digress). Next time, we might go with “Barbie In The 12 Dancing Princesses” instead. The options are truly endless.

Staying in touch with friends and finding sources of nostalgia is different for all of us, but these things can make our at-home experiences a lot better, even as they come to an end.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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