There is a ton of buzz going on about the Barbie and the Sound of Freedom movies, and we are here for all of it. We found these interesting reads and would like to share them.
The Sound of Freedom
Disclaimer: we have not yet seen this movie. This post is based solely on the two articles shared here. The subject matter is incredibly tough, focusing on the rescue of children from a life of sex trafficking after being kidnapped from their families. While the conversations and buzz about this very real and horrifying problem are without a doubt positive, we would like to point out the following facts.
Blog from Angel Studios, which produced the movie.
We are cherry-picking the most informative points from the blog for brevity (direct quotes below), but feel free to read the whole thing yourself.
- Around 80% of human trafficking victims are individuals who are subjected to forced labor with meager or no compensation, working in harsh conditions in factories, farms, mines, construction sites, fishing vessels, and private residences.
- Trafficking is often perpetrated by those known to the victim, including family members. This form of trafficking can be challenging to detect. While kidnapping can occur, there are much more normative methods of trafficking like grooming, manipulation, and coercion.
- The anti-trafficking movement has evolved significantly over the last decade, which is a testament to the dedicated efforts of numerous individuals, organizations, and grassroots initiatives. The story featured in Sound of Freedom took place ten years ago. Since then, there have been significant changes in both methodology and language ensuring individuals with lived experience do not experience re-exploitation.
This article confirms some of the above and also elaborates (direct quotes below):
- Contrary to urban legends about kids getting abducted in Target parking lots by strangers, or anonymous figures snatching children from alleyways, the majority of child trafficking victims know and trust their traffickers, explains Teresa Huizar, CEO of the National Children’s Alliance.
- Some are throwaway kids. They are kicked out of their homes and trade sex for food and a place to stay, and end up being trafficked by a pimp. In a lot of these cases, the trafficker starts out by calling themselves their boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Many child trafficking victims are LGBTQ or gender nonconforming youth who have been kicked out of their homes and forced into the sex trade by someone close to them.
- A report from the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative states that 67 percent of children trafficked are between the ages of 15 and 17.
- We want to believe that people trafficking children are unknown, nefarious strangers. [It] makes people uncomfortable to think some of these things happen in their own communities, in their own schools, with people they might run into at the grocery store.
- Contrary to claims made by some defenders of Sound of Freedom, no one is denying the existence of child trafficking, or its horrors…the reality may be even more horrific than what is depicted on screen in big-budget thrillers. The hope is that viewers who are moved by the film connect with legitimate organizations to learn the truth about what child trafficking looks like, and how they can help.
This one, we did see, some of us multiple times. Yes, we did bring our young daughters, because there was almost nothing even mildly inappropriate, but rest assured that the little ones did NOT love this movie as much as their moms. Oh, well, maybe someday.
Is it appropriate for your kids? Well, you decide…
There is that scene where Barbie innocently announces that “I do not have a vagina, and he does not have a penis”, and when Ken suggests “I thought I might stay over tonight, you know, since we are boyfriend and girlfriend”. But when Barbie says “and do what?” Ken responds “um, you know…I don’t know”. Crisis averted, zero sex in the movie.
The positives were countless. Hilarious, nostalgic, and incredibly cunning at “flipping the script” on the men of the world who have no idea what it is like to be a woman in a patriarchal society. One where women have to bust their butts just to gain a fraction of the same respect that is frequently handed to men whether they deserve it or not.
In the movie, the Kens have been made into side characters, while the Barbies are living their best lives running the show, having girls’ nights every night and not saddled with the complications that come with balancing their “mom” half with their “other” half.
This is why America Ferrara’s now famous monologue about the pressures of the balancing act of life resonates so much with women from all walks of life.
The article we are sharing here is an interview with her on what representation means to her as a Latina.
Gloria and Barbie have both been conditioned to present as if everything’s OK…to give the appearance that everything is fine.
[Gloria and Barbie] release each other from an impossible assignment: to be a thing. And we need to hear that. Men, women, all genders — we’re given roles. And because of our nature, or whatever it is, I’m not a psychologist, we do the assignment. And to get to a place where you’re like, “This is an impossible assignment, and I’m sick of it,” that’s the deeper invitation for the audience.
I feel like that’s what resonated with me the most, this permission to be unapologetically all of the things that we are.”America Ferrera
Call to Action
We’ve heard from some people that the LGBTQ community is “shoving themselves in our faces” and that supporters of them are promoting “grooming children to normalize sexual deviance”. We’ve heard people say “why do queer kids need acceptance from other people? Shouldn’t they just be happy and accept themselves and ignore other people who treat them badly?”
After reading about these two articles, please think about these points:
- The LGBTQ community is disproportionately impacted by sex-trafficking because they are more likely to become homeless after being kicked out by their parents who refuse to allow them to be who they are. This only highlights the dangers of outing a child to their parents against their wishes.
- Misuse of the word “grooming” makes it easier for actual grooming to go overlooked. As stated above, most human trafficking happens when a trusted adult grooms a vulnerable, younger person to trust them, take gifts from them, and believe everything they say…making it easier for them to pressure them into doing horrific and damaging things. It has nothing to do with homosexuality.
- How many times have we been shocked to learn that someone who seemingly has it all (looks, brains, career, the 2.5 kids and the McMansion with the picket fence) struggles with insecurity, overwhelm, juggling priorities, and sheer exhaustion? The Barbie movie shines a light on how someone as gorgeous as “stereotypical Barbie” can spiral into an existential crisis once she stops to wonder if the life she is living is actually the one she wants.
Your call to action is simple: support your children in finding out what role they want to play in this world, and then help them make that a reality. Whether it’s a doctor, or a software developer, or a mom, or a boy or a girl, just let them be themselves.
And if you are feeling out of sorts with your own life, maybe it’s time to examine your role and decide if you are living life as YOUR most authentic self.
We are here for everyone to help you along your journey (as long as you are willing to treat everyone with respect and kindness…it’s not exactly a high bar, but it still needs to be said).
Come join us!
August 13th is Cupcake War/Meet the school board!
If you need to meet a new friend to help you sort things out, or you just want to learn more about the district and how to get involved, please come to our next event on August 13th.
If you want to bake some cupcakes to support a local family in need (and maybe even win a prize) please sign up here!