Unveiling Gender Representation in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Movie: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis

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University of ‘Abbes Laghrour’ Khenchela
Abstract Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie transformed Barbie from a traditional toy figure into a multidimensional character, challenging the stereotypes associated with her. By portraying Barbie as a complex and relatable character, it broadened the doll's appeal beyond just children to a more mature audience. However, none of the previous studies analyzed Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie using Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Accordingly, this case study aims to examine and analyze the gender representation present in Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie using a multimodal critical discourse analysis approach. The study is crucial as it offers an in-depth exploration of gender representation. The study is a qualitative research in which it analyzed selected scenes from Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" movie using Van Dijk's Ideological Square as a framework, categorizing scenes into sections highlighting positive and negative aspects of women and men in leadership roles. This structured approach allowed for a nuanced examination of gender representations within the film's narrative. Additionally, a Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis was conducted, examining how gender representations were conveyed through visual, verbal, and non-verbal cues. The analysis proceeded in two stages: describing and interpreting essential modes, followed by an exploration of broader societal norms and values reflected in the film's portrayal of gender roles and leadership. The analysis reveals that multimodal elements significantly influence the portrayal and interpretation of gender roles. The narrative both challenges and perpetuates traditional gender norms and stereotypes, unveiling several underlying ideological constructs. Notably, the findings highlight that women's leadership within the movie fosters an orderly, harmonious, and inclusive community, managing conflicts empathetically and promoting social cohesion. In contrast, male leadership introduces chaos, aggression, and marginalization, leading to a breakdown in community harmony. Keywords: Gender Representation, Barbie, Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis.