If you haven’t been living under a rock, you probably know of Barbie: the year’s highest-grossing film and a cultural phenomenon.
However, the movie isn’t done influencing our lives.
Since its release in July, adult TikTokers have recorded themselves reconnecting with their inner child through methods like buying “emotional support Barbies.”
@rebeccanicolestar Little me would have loved her 💕 #emotionalsupportbarbie #comfortbarbie #barbie #barbiethemovie #whatwasimadefor ♬ What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] – Billie Eilish
In some videos, you’ll see them carefully roaming toy aisles to choose dolls they can identify with.
According to CNN, they carefully unbox these dolls, and apparently, it helps.
This Is Barbie’s Year
@bbrxtneyy24 I was fighting them tearssss y’all lmao me and my mom are a work in progress but i have so much love for her and now have a better understanding of her childhood and how regardless she did better than how she grew up i love you momma @Angebella! ✨ ♬ What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] – Billie Eilish
Some Gen Zers have also recorded themselves giving their parents Barbie dolls and other toys.
In a famous example, a young TikToker gifts her mom a Dia De Muertos Barbie, and the scene quickly pulls at the heartstrings.
“I asked my mom a month ago if she ever had a doll. Now I have a better understanding of her childhood and how regardless she did better than how she grew up. I love you momma.”
Kristin Flora, a psychology professor at Indiana’s Franklin College, has loved seeing how the movie has shown people the importance of play.
“We have quite a bit of research that shows the benefits of play for children. But increasingly, we have scientific evidence that play is beneficial for adults as well, especially in the mental health realm. Some of the research suggests that it can help stave off depression. It can help us build a sense of optimism, which is really important when things are uncertain. It can help us decide what disposition to take as we live through unprecedented times.”
Flora added that women and girls benefit uniquely from these dolls as they can grow in confidence and positivity at crucial times.
“In my classes, I teach that the confidence level for boys and girls is about equal up until about age 13. And that’s when we start to see confidence really get broken down and disrupted in girls, whereas boys; confidence tends to excel. That suggests that the psychological pressures at that age are really monumental for girls. A sense of play can help buffer against those changes.”
Have you tapped into these ‘emotional support’ dolls?
If they feel they need to buy emotional support dolls, then THEY NEED IT!
LEAVE THEM BE‼️😅🥴🥴🥴
— Deontray The R&Beast (@iAmDeontray) September 26, 2023