The already-iconic Barbie movie is at the center of a whirlwind of new controversies, leading to its ban in two Middle Eastern countries, Lebanon and Kuwait.
The bans reflect the growing tensions between cultural values, societal norms, and the depiction of Western, modern ideals in cinema.
Lebanon’s culture minister, Mohammad Mortada, is reportedly spearheading the move to prohibit the screening of the film in the nation’s cinemas.
Citing concerns over the movie’s content, Mortada claimed that the film was promoting homosexuality and undermining religious principles. This decision seems to be align with the thoughts and priorities of Hezbollah, which has become very powerful in Lebanon.
Mortada’s plea highlights the film’s purported focus on “homosexuality and sexual transformation,” which he believes contradicts the core tenets of faith and morality while undermining the sanctity of family values.
He has called upon Lebanon’s general security agency, which handles all censorship requests, to take swift and resolute action to prevent the film being shown in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, Kuwait has already taken a stand by imposing an outright ban on Barbie.
Reports from local sources suggest that the chairman of the film censorship committee expressed serious concerns about the film’s potential to perpetuate “unacceptable behavior” and distort the prevailing societal values in the country.
Kuwait and Lebanon are not the only countries to move to stop their citizens from seeing Barbie.
Vietnam and the Philippines decided to bar public screenings of the pink-hued movie due to a scene featuring a world map that stirred international debate.
In the moment in question, Barbie stands before a hand-drawn map that includes a dashed line extending from the edges of an incomplete Asia. This depiction bears a resemblance to the controversial “nine-dash line,” a representation used in Chinese maps to assert territorial control over parts of the South China Sea.
This contentious region has long been a subject of dispute among several countries, including China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Barbie emerged as a bona fide box office sensation the moment it arrived in theaters. The film’s rapid ascent to over $1 billion in ticket sales within a few weeks showcases its undeniable appeal and commercial power, even if some countries won’t allow it to be shown.
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